By Danielle Silva
WOODLAND — A homeless man went to an elementary school to request his child’s attendance records and was told by the principal to leave, resulting in a lockdown once the defendant refused to do so.
On Nov. 28, 2018, Leonid Mikhaylevskiy had gone to an elementary school to request the attendance records for his child. He had been dressed in a black hoodie and carried a large bag and had a black eye. He had allegedly been told they could not give him the attendance records and asked him to leave, which he refused, even when asked to do so by the principal.
The school was placed in lockdown and officers were called to the scene to remove Mr. Mikhaylevskiy. The defendant was arrested and is now charged with remaining on the property even when asked to leave by the chief administrative official of that school.
The prosecution opened by stating that the case concerned the safety of children on campuses and the importance of following chief administrative officials like a principal’s instruction to leave. He noted that the defendant’s clothing, presence, and conduct alerted the principal to his presence and he told the defendant to leave. The prosecution advised the jury to pay attention to the charge against the defendant and the defendant’s refusal to leave.
The defense used their opening statement to point to background information on the defendant. She stated that Mr. Mikhaylevskiy had been homeless at the time but still had legal custody over his child. He had gone to the school to look at his child’s attendance records, and the defense argued that school officials should have been familiar with him. However, he was told he was not an emergency contact and could not receive the records. The defense argued the school treated him like he shouldn’t be there based on his appearance and, as an immigrant father, he was trying to do what was best for his child.
Woodland Officer Matthew Gray had responded to the lockdown on Nov. 28, 2019. Officer Gray is the school resource officer for all the elementary schools in the area, and Pioneer High School. His duty is to educate students on drills that concern topics like active shooters and talking about issues like gang resistance.
Officer Gray arrived at the school while it was still on lockdown. Several officers had arrived before him when he approached the defendant. Mr. Mikhaylevskiy had been sitting on the curb and the officer described his demeanor as “defiant” and “passive” and his appearance as “disheveled.” The officer noted that his appearance could be a cause for suspicion and confirmed a picture of the defendant taken that day, showing the defendant in a hooded sweater with his hood up.
The officer requested the defendant leave around five to ten times. The defendant did not do so. Officer Gray testified that he told the defendant the appropriate procedure for gaining the attendance records, which included going to the courthouse to retrieve custody paperwork. He also informed the defendant that the school had gone into lockdown before asking him to leave again. The defendant still did not get up.
Following this, the defendant was taken into custody by Officer Gray.
In the conversation between them, Officer Gray stated the defendant appeared to understand English clearly as Mr. Mikhaylevskiy responded in English, while with an accent. He also clarified that he didn’t see the defendant interacting with any of the other officers or school officials prior to their contact.
The trial is set to go on for two more days, with Thursday morning confirmed for the next trial witness.