Attempted Kidnapping Thwarted by School Staff

A convicted felon almost succeeded in kidnapping two boys from their Washington, D.C. elementary school.

Attempted Kidnapping Thwarted by School Staff

A man who was on probation for attempted kidnapping walked into Rocketship Rise Academy Public School in Washington, D.C. and came very close to abducting two brothers, who are ages 9 and 6.

Antonio Burnside followed a woman inside the front door of the campus and lied to the police officer at the front desk, telling him the woman was his child’s mother, reports NBC Washington. The officer let Burnside in and didn’t question him or ask for identification.

The convicted felon then went to the school gymnasium where he convinced the two male students that he was their father. He told the boys he wanted to take them to their grandfather.

The two brothers then followed Burnside out of the building, but school front office staff members ran after the students and took them back inside.

The incident happened on October 11 when the campus was having parent-teacher conferences. Although no classes were being held at the time, there were many students attending the after-school program.

Since the attempted kidnapping, the school has made changes to how it manages visitors. Now, staff members will check visitor IDs at all times, even when students aren’t attending classes.

The incident highlights the risks associated with tailgating, which is when a person who is not authorized to enter a building is able to do so by surreptitiously following close behind an authorized person. One recent study of security professionals and end users found that 69% of survey respondents believed that security breaches resulting from tailgating either are holding at the same levels or are increasing.

Visitor management is another critical aspect of school security. An effective system, along with appropriate policies, procedures and employee training can help ensure all visitors are properly screened and that only parents  or guardians with child custodial rights can remove a child from campus.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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