Officials suspend Arkansas principal after 7-year-old is left alone at school

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OSCEOLA, Ark. — Osceola school leaders have placed an elementary school employee on administrative leave while they try to figure out how a 7-year-old ended up left in the school after hours.

Ernest Washington was found sleeping inside of the nurse’s office Tuesday evening.

Now the 7-year-old’s parents are pushing to make sure it never happens again.

Washington is just fine now, but his mother says when he didn’t step off the school bus a million possibilities raced through her head.

“I’m panicking. I’m scared. There are abductions going on, and I didn’t know where he was,” Ashley Harris said.

Harris said she called the school over and over before finally getting the call that her son was found inside of the school.

“They forgot, and this isn’t the first time. This is actually the second time,” the mother said.

She says the principal of the school told her Washington was found in the nurse’s office sleeping.

According to the principal, that’s where she’d left the 7-year-old earlier in the day to get him to calm down since he was having a hard time concentrating without his ADHD medication.

“He’s in the school district’s hands once he hits that school bus,” Harris said. “Once he gets off of that bus he is my responsibility again.”

The mother fears her son wouldn’t have been found if it wasn’t for his snoring that caught someone’s attention.

“If the janitor wouldn’t have found him then he would have just been locked in the school,” Harris said.

Superintendent Michael Cox says he trying to make sure Washington isn’t forgotten a third time.

“If this is true, we don’t operate like that,” Cox said. “If someone is guilty of breaking a rule we will take action.”

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