MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW)– A young mother is demanding answers after discovering that her 4-year-old daughter was left behind at a Cleveland museum during a school field trip.
Latoya Jackson said her daughter, Londyn, was looking forward to the trip to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Tuesday.
The first clue that something went wrong came when the bus returning Londyn Jackson and her preschool classmates to Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Maple Heights was an hour late.
“So I’m waiting for my baby girl. She gets off the bus and I see dry tear marks, so I knew something was wrong,” Jackson said.
She said she was then approached by Londyn’s preschool teacher, who told her the little girl was initially left behind at the museum.
“And then I hear, ‘Well, we got on the bus and we kind of were heading back towards the school, and we didn’t know that Londyn was still at the museum by herself. We did a headcount, but I guess we counted wrong,’” she said.
It turns out that Londyn became separated from the 14 other preschool students, their teacher and two other chaperones when she used a restroom at the museum.
“I get into the car. Londyn is crying, ‘I don’t ever want to go back, I’m terrified, I’m scared, I was by myself, I didn’t know what to do mommy, I was lost,’” she said.
Fortunately, a security guard at the museum saw Londyn crying and was able to identify her as an Abraham Lincoln preschooler by the T-shirt she was wearing. The security staff contacted the school. Employees then called the teacher on the bus and alerted her that the girl was left behind.
“Anything could have happened to her, that could have been anyone’s child, she’s 4. She can’t tell anyone her number or her address,” Jackson said.
The superintendent of the Maple Heights School District said he was not aware of the incident until Londyn Jackson’s father contacted the district office. Dr. Charles Keenan told Fox 8,
“It’s upsetting. There is no excuse for leaving a child behind. Something like this is totally unacceptable,” Dr. Charles Keenan said.
Keenan said the preschool teacher was placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Be more careful. We trust you guys with our children’s lives. You have to think of them as if they are your own,” Jackson said.