When word broke of the Amber Alert for a missing 5-year-old girl taken early Monday morning from an elementary school in Philadelphia, a collective hope was raised for the safe return of the child.
Reportedly, she was taken to a home where she was stripped, blindfolded and placed under a bed. Later, she was released near a playground and told to call someone for help.
She was found weathered but safe early Tuesday morning in neighboring Upper Darby by someone who police called “a good Samaritan” on his way to work.
Hearing her cries for help, he found her clad only in a tank-top. The child was shivering in the 37-degree dampness under a jungle gym. Now the search is on for her abductor with a $10,000 reward as an incentive for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the thug who took her.
What occurred at Bryant Elementary School Monday morning should never have happened. The Philadelphia School District, like almost every other district in Pennsylvania, requires any adult taking a child from class to show identification and be on a list as a verified parent or guardian.
On Monday morning, a woman entered the school and informed an official that she was supposed to pick up the young girl and take her to breakfast with the child’s mother. After signing the school log, the woman went to the child’s classroom and asked for the child by name. No identification was asked for and nobody escorted the woman to the classroom. School officials admit that the entire incident violated school procedure.
How did this happen?
Were officials at the Bryant Elementary School intimidated by the politically correct policies that wonder through the “brain-o-sphere” of our society creating people who are afraid to offend – even in the name of child safety? After all, the woman was wearing a burqa with a veil that left only her eyes uncovered. How can officials even determine if it was a man or a woman?
The incident happened at 8:45 a.m. but because the child was signed out, the abduction wasn’t even reported until 3 p.m., giving the criminal a nearly six-hour head start. Even a metal detector or armed guard could not have prevented this crime from happening. Only a photo ID and adherence to school policy would.
While police search for the abductor(s), and we hope they nab them quickly, the school district and city officials need to review how seriously they take the safety of the students then take action against employees who choose not to follow the rules for whatever reason.
There is no question about violating First Amendment rights here – it was a school district rule. Freedom, or fear, of religion cannot trump the safety of our students.
The would-be abductor should have been asked for identification and her identity verified, even to the point of removing her veil before she removed the child.
Whether it was political correctness or laziness that facilitated this crime, the person(s) who let her into the school needs to be held accountable.