A mother of a Springdale Elementary School student says the school system couldnt tell her whether someone tried abducting her 7-year-old son from in front of the school Wednesday.
Patricia Thompson said her second-grade son was being let out of the school at dismissal time, around 3:45 p.m., when the man groped a girl through her hair and grabbed her son by the front of his wrap-around backpack. The boy screamed, and a parent rushed up and brought him into the school and asked employees to call 911, she said.
School system officials said little about the incident Wednesday night, other than a man who was acting suspiciously remains in close contact with the police. Risk Management Director David Gowan refused to release even the mans age, saying that is also part of the investigation. Bibb County school police are leading the investigation, but the Bibb County Sheriffs Office also responded.
Gowan confirmed the man had been acting suspiciously in front of the school at dismissal time, around 3:35 p.m. School officials were alerted by parents, who had also helped keep the man in place on school grounds.
A phone message to parents was sent out Wednesday evening.
Thompson told reporters she didnt know the man.
She faulted the schools response, saying the children should have been kept safe while parents were reached. Instead, she said a cousin found out and called the boys grandmother, who called Thompson, who left work, arrived at the school, and found the girl still outside the school. She said she hadnt been told whether it was an abduction attempt.
Thompson credits her sons scream with disrupting the incident. She said shell be thinking again about whether her three children will walk home from school, but also recommends parents follow her lead in teaching their children what to do in emergencies.
We practice all kind of protocol at the house: If Mom passes out in the car, if Mom passes out in the house, if Im in a wreck, if a stranger approaches you, Thompson said outside the front entrance of Springdale Elementary. Its something I practice with my kids.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.