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District investigating security breach at Bryant in wake of abduction

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 15, 2013 04:03 PM

Now that 5-year-old Nailla Robinson is safely home, District officials are investigating what breaches of security occurred when she was taken from Bryant Elementary School on Monday morning.

Spokesman Fernando Gallard said that "at first glance, it looks like procedures and protocols were not followed" when a burka-clad woman, who identified herself as Tiffany, took Nailla from her kindergarten classroom.

Gallard said that the woman entered the school and signed in at the security desk in the hallway, but then went directly to the classroom instead of to the main office, where all visitors are directed.

"She bypassed the office. What would have stopped all this is a teacher who says, 'I am not releasing this child until you go to the front office and I get a note giving approval to release the child.'"

The teacher that day was a substitute. Gallard said he didn't know what kind of training substitutes are required to undergo.

Generally, substitutes are retired teachers who know all the rules, he said, but he "can't speak to what kind of training this teacher received."

The situation was complicated, he added, because Nailla did not react negatively to the person.

Gallard said the District is reaching out to all school employees to reinforce the protocols and "make sure they understand what is required when a student is picked up by an adult."

As for any disciplinary actions, Gallard said they are possible but that officials would wait until the investigation is completed. He had no timeline on that: "We've never had to do this before."



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Comments (12)

Submitted by Mister Tibbs (not verified) on January 15, 2013 5:44 pm
Thank God for the child's safe return home after enduring a horrible trauma. If there is blame to go around it must be shared by everyone connected to the SDP - Governor, Mayor, SRC, Superintendent, school staff, and the child’s parent included. Resources have been dwindled to next to nothing. There is no longer a school police officer helping to oversee morning arrival, or watching over a security desk, and school staff are left trying to fill in every gap, in area, on the run, during the school day, while enduring the ills of society that creep inside the school walls. This is the reality of the current state of affairs. We must all share the blame and prepare to accept consequences for failing to keep all students safe.
Submitted by linda (not verified) on January 15, 2013 7:17 pm
I agree, nicely stated. Main idea, we need enough staff. Older buildings have offices on the main/first floor where the main entrance is a floor below. Anyone can walk right on up the stairs to any room. I am willing to bet the sub probably had other instances where anybody and everybody has been to the classroom without any kind of id, no pre-warning phone call etc....add that with maybe 20 -30 other kids to watch, who would argue with an adult whose face you could not see, but apparently the child was willling to obey and follow out of the room and out of the door?.... I hope that some sort of assistance is offered to the sub and he/she does not get all of the blame...too many opportunities presented themselves BEFORE the kidnapper got to the room. But then, we will see where the axe falls. Maybe this will end "early dismissals" all over the SDP and kids will stay in school for a full day's worth of instruction.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 15, 2013 6:25 pm
Well said.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 15, 2013 8:28 pm
The article says "all visitors are directed to the main office". BY WHOM? There is no one at the entrances of these buildings making sure the people buzzed in actually go to the office. There are no procedures in place. A buzzer does not help keep a building safe if the people buzzed in are free to go wherever they would like. If someone has a malicious intent, they are GUARANTEED not to follow the directions on the sign posted that says "All visitors please sign in at the main office". The people in the main office are multitasking a thousand different jobs and cannot be expected to also be security guards posted at the front door. The district needs to step up and staff the front door of every building in the district to ensure that every person who enters the building actually goes (AND STAYS) in the office.
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on January 15, 2013 11:27 pm
I hear you....I hope the SDP does as well...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 16, 2013 4:27 am
close this god-awful school. rape, escaped student, and now abduction have all happened there in the last 2 years (and that's only what was in the news). add poor academic performance and you have to ask, what's the point. this school needs mastery.
Submitted by LS Teach (not verified) on January 16, 2013 5:45 am
There needs to be more staff and security in all schools. Mister Tibbs is exactly right. At my school, adults walk around the school without name tags or identification constantly. These people range from parents, to community members, to district maintenance workers not employed at the school, to 440 administrators who can come and go as they please - all without staff members being informed WHO these people are and/or when they are supposed to be there. The lack of procedure and protocol in place is not just isolated to Bryant - it is widespread.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 16, 2013 5:24 pm
.Well said mr tibbs. My school bldg is monitored at the front door, all early dismissals are phoned to the classroom and parents wait for their child in the office. Even visitors who are regular volunteers must sign in and wear a visitor tag- we have a very active pta and they have made safety a priority. We could not do this without them since the district cut our school security. PS- we are a sdp run school
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 16, 2013 7:29 pm
Dale, Just for clarification, was the woman wearing a burka or a niqab? From what I saw on the news, the woman was wearing a niqab because her eyes were not covered. A Burka covers the entire face and there is material in front of the eyes through which the woman can see. Education Grad Student ------ When a woman comes into the school and she is wearing a niqab -- a veil which covers all of the face except for the eyes -- she should be required to remove it. If it's a really big issue for a woman to remove her niqab and show her face to a male staff person, then there should be a female available to verify her identity. Obviously, sometimes there are mothers who wear the niqab and come and pick up their children everyday. Teachers know who these teachers are and the child recognizes the woman as her/his mother. A woman has a right to cover her face for religious purposes. However, there needs to be an understanding that for the purpose of safety, she may have to remove the face covering. Furthermore, if a person's face is not visible to surveillance cameras, this poses a difficult issue in terms of identifying the suspect. I have spent times at schools and have seen that there are enough women who wear a niqab or otherwise cover their faces that there needs to be a specific protocol for identification for women who cover their faces. Fortunately, Nailla is safe, but this situation could have been worse. EGS
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on January 16, 2013 11:23 pm
Well said, time to get it in writing in the SDP and any other public building....which makes me wonder...when a person wearing a niqbab goes to a bank and wants to make a withdrawl at the window of a considerable amount of money, does that woman have to provide a visual of both her face and of her id?......... Schools should have at least the same coverage as a bank considering the value of a child Just asking.
Submitted by ionela (not verified) on June 6, 2014 9:42 am
This is unacceptable. If something like this happened to my child the school would pay for it BIG TIME! There is no excuse for this. jocuri fete
Submitted by mirica (not verified) on June 9, 2014 5:49 am
This should never happen. You need to feel as safe as possible when you leave your child at school. web design

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