ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – An Athens City Schools student is safe and sound with his family after getting separated on a field trip to Nashville.
Julian Newman Elementary School took a field trip to the Nashville Zoo on Monday. Zoo officials confirmed to News 19 that a child was left behind.
Nashville Zoo spokesperson Jim Bartoo said the student walked into a restaurant and told employees that he had lost his group. Bartoo explained that is when the zoo implemented their “Lost Child Protocol” and that the student was not in any danger.
“We kept him safe and in a room, he was watching cartoons, took a nap for a while, you know he was okay,” Bartoo said. “I think that like anybody who gets separated from their group, he was a little nervous about that for the most part. We took really good care of him.”
On Wednesday, Athens City Schools released a statement about the incident:
Athens City Schools can confirm that an elementary school student was left at the Nashville Zoo while on a field trip on Monday, March 21. A parent of the student involved has asked us not to comment any more than necessary, and we want to honor that request. The student was safe with a Nashville Zoo employee until picked up by his parents, and school officials communicated regularly with the parents and zoo personnel until arrival back to Alabama.
According to Superintendent Beth Patton, “We are so glad that the student was safe and knew what procedures to follow, and we appreciate the protocols in place at the zoo for instances such as this. As you can imagine, we are all devastated that this occurred. We are currently reviewing this matter and our field trip procedures.”Athens City Schools
Zoo officials said they aren’t sure how long the student was on their own before asking for help. The child’s parents later picked him up from the zoo.
The Nashville Zoo added when field trips come through they have all the information they need to contact the school and registered chaperones, in order to get lost student back where they need to be.