Two third-graders skipped class Monday to play with horses and puppies, causing a stir as law enforcement and school officials searched frantically.
The 8- and 9-year-old girls planned their escape from Brooklet Elementary School, Bulloch County Board of Education spokeswoman Haley Greene said.
One asked for a hall pass to go to the bathroom while the other asked for a pass to visit the school nurse, she said.
They left a note stating they were running away, Bulloch County sheriff’s Investigator Jared Akins said.
About two hours after the girls left the school campus, a Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy spotted them walking along Brooklet-Denmark Road near Emit Grove Road, about four miles from Brooklet, Akins said.
After the teacher realized the girls weren’t where they were supposed to be, she alerted the principal, Marlin Baker. When Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson was notified, the school was placed on lockdown and a search was initiated, Greene said.
The girls left their classrooms around 10:20 a.m., and school officials contacted Brooklet police around 11:30 a.m., she said.
About 15 school administrators and support staff searched the school grounds while Bulloch County sheriff’s deputies, Brooklet police and Georgia State Patrol troopers scoured the area.
“After being questioned by parents and Principal Baker, the students admitted to planning the incident in order to go to the home of one of the girls to play with horses and puppies,” Greene said in statement released after the incident. “The school has issued disciplinary action. The Brooklet Police Department has filed a police report and is charging the students.”
Wilson, as well as Kevin Judy, the school system’s assistant superintendent of human resources, and Baker, were all on the scene throughout the incident and met with the students and parents, she said.
“We are thankful that our students are safe, and we are appreciative of the caring and committed professionalism of the Brooklet Elementary staff and local public safety officials who responded to ensure the students’ safe return,” Wilson said.
The students were taken home by their parents. The school’s counselor will be available for students, parents, and any other students affected by the incident, Greene said. “I appreciate the fast action by the teacher and all of my staff,” Baker said. “We are glad that these young ladies are safe.”
Classes for the remainder of the school’s 624 students continued as normal throughout the day, Greene said.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.