The Lowndes County Board of Education in Valdosta, Georgia, honored a teacher who stopped the abduction of a child at Westside Elementary School last week.
Kindergarten teacher Ginger Taylor was honored by the board and Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine Monday evening at a board meeting, where she received a standing ovation from the overflow crowd for her efforts to prevent the abduction, The Valdosta Daily Times reported.
Friday afternoon at around 2:15, two men walked onto the property of Westside Elementary School and reportedly took a 5-year-old boy from the playground. Taylor saw this happening and rushed over to intervene, according to WCTV. One of the men pushed her to the ground and they got away with the child.
The teacher notified the school resource officer and got the license plate number of the car the men left in. A "be on the look out" alert was dispatched immediately to Sheriff's Office deputies and regional law enforcement.
About ten minutes later, the suspects were caught driving near Valdosta Regional Airport, where a rented airplane was waiting to bring the men and the kidnapped boy to Mississippi.
The child was returned to his mother.
Westside Principal Suzanne Tanner, who introduced Taylor at the meeting, gave credit to Taylor, the school resource officer, and Lowndes County Sheriff's deputies for their hard work in preventing the abduction.
“Last Friday, our school faced one of the greatest fears an educator can have, and that is to have someone to take a child from our care by force,” the Principal said, according to The Valdosta Daily Times. “It’s unthinkable for us. We work hard to keep our children safe at all times, but it’s really hard to prepare for the unpredictable.
"When the time came and we were confronted with the emergency, each person had to use their wit and their courage to know what to do next.”
Investigators learned during the investigation that one of the kidnappers, Michael Ray McCormick, is the abducted boy's non-custodial father. He traveled to Valdosta from Mississippi by plane with David Scott Stapp. When the men arrived in Valdosta, they rented a vehicle, which they used to abduct the boy. Both men were taken to Lowndes County Jail.
McCormick, 33, was charged with kidnapping, simple battery on a school official, and disruption of a school. Stapp, 36, is facing charges for being an accomplice to the crimes.