New procedures will be in place at Rees E. Price Academy Wednesday
morning after a series of mix-ups today caused teachers and Cincinnati police
to fear a 5-year-old kindergartner was missing.
FOX19 has learned that Sumiir Smith had spent much of this
morning inside a first grade classroom because an older student had taken him
to the wrong room. But the teacher didn't notice. A police sergeant summoned
all available officers from across the city to East Price Hill so they could fan
out through the school and across the neighborhood.
It wasn't until Sumiir's mom brought a picture of him to
school (since he's a kindergartner, there was no school photo of him yet) that
allowed officials to search recordings from the school's surveillance cameras
to see where he'd been. Because he'd arrived late this morning, he ate
breakfast with sixth graders. One of the "leaders" in that class was asked to
take Sumiir to his classroom.
"However, when they got to the pod, instead of going to the
kindergarten room they went to the room right next door, which was the first
grade classroom," said principal Shelley Stein. The video cameras showed that
this had happened.
No one realized the mistake until Sumiir's mom called the
kindergarten teacher this morning to make sure he'd made it to class all right
since they'd been running late. What concerns Stein, and likely other parents,
is that it took an hour to find Sumiir even though he was in the classroom next
door. She tells FOX19 she also expects her teachers to learn students' names
and faces "right away."
"And that can be done through class building, Kagan
activities, student engagement," said Stein. "But certainly from a safety
standpoint, having your class lists, making sure that you're doing your roll
call, making sure that you know who your kids are --- (That) you know who the
kids are in the other first grades."
Classes have been in session for Cincinnati Public Schools
since last Wednesday. Stein said she was holding an emergency meeting with
teachers not long after speaking with FOX19 this afternoon to go over what
As for Sumiir, he was calm when he emerged from the school
with his mom. Carrying a water bottle in one hand, he looked around, seemingly
unaware of adults' frantic efforts to find him. His mom took him home for the
rest of the day.
"What (was) going through my head is, my grandson is in
somebody's basement kidnapped, hurt, tied-up, on his way to Kentucky," said
Sumiir's grandmother, Ava Smith.
Principal Stein says she'll post adult aides in the
cafeteria starting tomorrow morning. They'll have lists of every student in the
school and will personally escort little kids to the correct classroom.