This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Now that 5-year-old Nailla Robinson is safely home, District officials are investigating what breaches of security occurred when she was taken from Bryant Elementary School on Monday morning.
Spokesman Fernando Gallard said that "at first glance, it looks like procedures and protocols were not followed" when a burka-clad woman, who identified herself as Tiffany, took Nailla from her kindergarten classroom.
Gallard said that the woman entered the school and signed in at the security desk in the hallway, but then went directly to the classroom instead of to the main office, where all visitors are directed.
"She bypassed the office. What would have stopped all this is a teacher who says, ‘I am not releasing this child until you go to the front office and I get a note giving approval to release the child.’"
The teacher that day was a substitute. Gallard said he didn’t know what kind of training substitutes are required to undergo.
Generally, substitutes are retired teachers who know all the rules, he said, but he "can’t speak to what kind of training this teacher received."
The situation was complicated, he added, because Nailla did not react negatively to the person.
Gallard said the District is reaching out to all school employees to reinforce the protocols and "make sure they understand what is required when a student is picked up by an adult."
As for any disciplinary actions, Gallard said they are possible but that officials would wait until the investigation is completed. He had no timeline on that: "We’ve never had to do this before."