A Mayflower Elementary pre-schooler left school grounds alone Monday and crossed at least one parking lot and Highway 89 before she was found two blocks away, school and police officials said.
Mayflower Schools superintendent John Gray said the child “seized an opportunity to sneak out and run” when an employee supervising the child in a conference room stepped out of the room.
According to a Mayflower Police Department incident report, the child had been seated in the conference room due to behavioral problems.
The report states the school employee stepped out of the room to call the child’s mother.
Gray said when the employee returned and found the girl was gone, she was immediately reported missing.
The report states school officials searched the building and initiated an intercom “all-call” before searching outside.
“We did everything. We notified agencies and told police of the situation. We made contact with the family,” Gray said.
According to the incident report, a woman who saw the child on Locust Street made contact with her and called 9-1-1.
The woman told police the girl said she “was going home to her momma’s.”
Gray said the incident has caused the district to look again at safety measures for young students.
According to Gray, the school has an alarm system that is activated when an outer door opens from inside a Kindergarten classroom.
“In our Kindergarten room we have a special security system on the door. If you open the door an alarm goes off. We’re looking at adding more of those to the building,” he said.
Gray said doors of the school buildings are locked from the outside, but doors are unlocked leading out of the building due to fire codes.
“This district has met with the family, and we’ve discussed this child’s needs and are currently looking at support services we can provide with a routine daily management of needs for the student,” said Gray. “This is to help them overall educationally and to look at ways to ensure this child and other children cannot get out of the building so easily.”
Gray said the child ran down a hallway past several classrooms and out of the door without being seen.
According to police, the girl’s family is not seeking legal action against the school.
Gray said he could not comment on if any employee faced disciplinary action because of the incident.
Mayflower police notified the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Hotline to make a report.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)