School takes security steps

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

COAL GROVE — Putting an alarm on a Dawson-Bryant Elementary School second grade classroom door is the result of an unexpected incident this past Thursday afternoon around 2:30 p.m.

When an 8-year old second grade boy at the school asked his teacher if he could go to the restroom, he ended up leaving the school out a back door from the music room.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said according to the deputy who picked up the student, the child thought the teacher said he could go home.

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An initial report that stated the student was found walking down State Route 243 was false, superintendent of Dawson-Bryant Local Schools Steve Easterling said.

“He went by the Grange Hall building near the school when a neighbor saw him and called 911,” Easterling said. “A deputy came and picked him up and brought him back to school.”

Easterling said after four or five minutes had passed and the student hadn’t returned to the classroom, the teacher began to look for the student at which point an announcement was made and the search continued outside.

“We spent about 20 minutes searching before the deputy brought him back,” Easterling said.

He added that the school was unable to immediately notify the student’s parents about the incident because the phone numbers the school had on file were non-working.

The alarm placed on the classroom door is the first step in preventing such incidents from taking place in the future, the superintendent said.

“We’re looking into the possibility of getting more and have some call-outs on alarms for other doors and possibly a camera that connects to the office,” Easterling said. “It’s unfortunate it happened and everyone hates it, but hopefully doing these things will prevent this from happening again.”

Easterling said from now on, the student will be accompanied by an assigned adult to go to the restroom, lunch, recess or any other activity or reason to leave the classroom during school.