After my evening workout I get in and learn that a kindergarten student has gone missing. The first thing that hit me was the fact that I have a 6 year old kindergarten student. I could not figure out why there was no Amber Alert notification? Shortly after 8:30 the tv broadcasting stopped for the Amber Alert announcement, 5yo Nailla Robinson. My cell phone sent the alert via a text message on my phone. The missing child was dropped off in the morning by her parent. Then an unknown woman arrived shortly after, signed the log in principal’s office as “Tiffany” and identified herself as the child’s mother. She went to the classroom removed the child and left the premises. The details were so sketchy, no one saw how the woman left the school grounds. As more details unfolded I learned why the Amber Alert was so delayed, the school was not aware the child was missing until early afternoon when the daycare provider came to pick her up.
As a parent my first thought was why did the school not ask for some form identification? Are schools too relaxed when dealing with female caretakers/guardians? is there an assumption that we pose no threat to children because we are least likely to be profiled as predators? Why did the substitute teacher not get an announcement that a parent was coming to the classroom. I remember in my son’s previous charter school parents were not allowed in the classroom under any circumstances. The announcement may have triggered the fact this woman was an impostor in front of the child.
I remember the day one of my mommy friends picked up my 6 year old from a daycare facility. I gave the director her name, cell number and the specific time frame she would arrive. It never occurred to me to ask my friend if they asked her for identification. Shortly after the news unraveled the vague details I went through the list of “pickup” people on our list and I instructed my 6 year old she is under no circumstances to go with anyone not on the list. She is not to leave and demand that the school call me immediately. It’s a shame to take measures like this with our children at such a young age but I no longer trust that everyone within the schools will properly adhere to the proper procedures. The following morning I wrote my DD’s teacher a letter expressing my concern in light of Monday’s incident and wanted to ensure that our pick-up are properly documented. I further stated that if these arrangements change I will write a note of permission or call the school directly. I am not saying there are flaws and lack of understanding at every school however as a parent you can never be too sure when it comes to protecting your children. This breach in security should have triggered major flaws in their existing system and initiated some form of reprimand for those involved.
Facebook friends were sharing the Amber Alert within their timelines in the hope that this child was found safely. The next morning as I turned on the early morning local news, breaking news story was the “Missing Child Found Safe” and was being taken to CHOP. This was the best news a parent could hope for as well as the surrounding community. I can’t imagine anyone not being affected by this story. When I heard the details on how she was found it was beyond words. A man was on his way to work and he heard sounds coming from a nearby field and there she was hiding under the playground equipment.
Later that evening the “Good Samaritan” was speaking at a press conference in which he explained hearing the sounds and knowing immediately it was a cry. When he investigated he found Nailla shivering and crying wearing only a tshirt. She had gone missing for almost 24 hours. Who was this Good Samaritan? I learned he was a 27 year old, married, father of 2 children, a son and daughter. The one statement that was so heartfelt from this father was when he picked up the child, the first thing he thought about was his own daughter. He wrapped her in his coat to keep her warm until help arrived. He was unaware that the Philadelphia Police were looking for a missing child.
Who was this “Good Samaritan”, his name is Nelson Mandela Myers. I think he is a real life “Guardian Angel”! If a child is ever in need I would hope there are more kind individuals to rescue them like Mr. Myers. He should be the “Person of the Week” in my book.