SES Teacher and Assistant May Be Reprimanded after Pre-K Child Leaves School Unnoticed

February 5, 2011
Dwayne Page
Dr. Bill Tanner

A Smithville Elementary School teacher and her educational assistant may receive a written reprimand from school officials after a four year old child left his pre-kindergarten classroom and the school building Friday afternoon without anyone noticing.

The child, Kameron Luther, was picked up by a passing motorist, Joyce Ferrell near the Regions Bank branch ATM location on Bryant Street. Ferrell took the child to the Smithville Police Department, who then alerted Dr. Bill Tanner, principal of the school.

Dr. Tanner told WJLE that the teacher was out of the classroom when Kameron left and the educational assistant, who was still in the room, did not notice the child leave since it was nap time for the students and the lights were off. "The little boy was in his pre-k class and they were taking a nap. The (teacher's) aide was in the room watching the children but the lights were out and it was dark in the room. The children were laying on the floor on their little cots and he (Kameron) was over by the door. The teacher had stepped out of the room. I think she was going to the restroom. After she left, he (Kameron) decided he was going to go home. He was over by the (classroom) door and he slipped out. He went out of the pod area, came down the front hall, and went out the door (to the school) and left. He (Kameron) went down to where the Regions' branch office is on Bryant Street. Somebody (Joyce Ferrell) picked him up as he was trying to cross the road. She saw him and thought that he had slipped away from home. She stopped and talked to him for a few minutes. He couldn't tell her where he lived so she took him to the police station. They (police) contacted me. All of this occurred between a fifteen to twenty minute time period from the time he went out the door until the police called me."

Dr. Tanner said he is thankful that the child was unharmed and for the actions of Mrs Ferrell. "This is something that you never want to happen and it scares you to death when it does happen. But the little boy is okay and I'm proud that Mrs. Ferrell did what she did. I want to thank her a thousand times. We're going to do everything we can to make sure this never happens again."

Because of this incident, Dr. Tanner said that the teacher and educational assistant responsible for the child may receive a reprimand."There will be some repercussions because of this. A written reprimand is probably what we're talking about because it's our job to make sure that the children don't escape the building. We can't lock the doors from the inside but it's the teacher's responsibility to make sure that the children are safe."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE that policies and procedures will be reviewed with school staff in an effort to try to ensure that nothing like this happens again.

Neither Dr. Tanner or Director Willoughby would identify the teacher and educational assistant.

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