Five-Year-Old Girl Goes Missing From Tullahoma School
by Shannon Royster
TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – The parents of a five-year-old Tullahoma girl said she was not kept safe at her school, after she managed to leave campus and walk down a busy street.
Allon and Mary Ann Haston got a call from their five year old daughter Nicole's school they said they never wanted to receive.
"I was scared," said Mary Ann Haston. "I was worried that she wouldn't be found."
When Mary Ann arrived at Jack T. Farrar Elementary school, she learned little Nicole had managed to leave school grounds alone after asking to go to the restroom.
"Instead of going to the bathroom, she headed out the door and headed to her grandpas," she said.
Once her kindergarten teacher realized she was missing, the school was searched and Tullahoma Police were called. Allon said the whole thing is shocking.
"She's five years old," he said. "She shouldn't just be able to walk out of a door and walk off of campus much less not know that she's gone until she's half a mile away."
Nicole was seen by a passerby walking down Westside Drive in between the school and a nearby funeral home.
An officer found Nicole unharmed, and the district's superintendent Dr. Dan Lawson issued a statement saying:
"While it is always a concern for a child to be out of their area of supervision, we greatly appreciate the fact that a concerned citizen quickly observed the child and advised local authorities of the situation. As a direct result of the child leaving the supervised area, we have revisited our search protocols and are addressing the installation of an alarm to advise building officials of our door opening from the inside of the building. "
Allon said he's glad to see something being done so that other parents aren't fearful of dropping their kids off at school.
"We put our trust in this school system to keep our kids safe, he said, and they've let me down personally."
School officials haven't said when the doors would be fitted with alarms.