An apparent child custody dispute panicked parents of children at Mt. Olive Elementary School in Russell County this morning when it caused an alert to be sent out over the automated phone messaging system.
Four students were apparently picked up at the school by a woman who took them to Florida, Russell County School Superintendent Yvette Richardson said. She called the incident “a custodial dispute between two family members.”
At about 8:15 this morning, teachers realized when taking roll that four children who had been on the school buses were not in the school. The sheriff’s office was called in. In talking to school children, investigators learned that four children – a sixth-grader, a fifth-grader and two second-graders -- had hidden behind the buses while other children were getting off and going into the school. A woman in a car nearby apparently called the children over to the car, hugged them and loaded them into the car, Richardson said.
After the alert was sent out, about 15 parents showed up at the school, concerned that their children might be missing. Richardson stood out front and assured parents as they arrived that their children were safe in class.
About 2 p.m., a second automated message was sent our, canceling the first alert.
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