Teacher protects girls; mom arrested

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Hephzibah Elementary School first-grade teacher Kristi Davis wasn't about to sit back and watch as two of her school's pupils were driven away by people she didn't know.

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Kristi Davis, a first-grade teacher at Hephzibah Elementary School, smiles today during a reception at the school. She helped stop a mother and grandmother from taking two pupils without authorization Thursday.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/ Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/ Staff
Kristi Davis, a first-grade teacher at Hephzibah Elementary School, smiles today during a reception at the school. She helped stop a mother and grandmother from taking two pupils without authorization Thursday.

Davis jumped into a sport utility vehicle with the first- and third-grade girls, and refused to leave, hoping to stop it from driving away.

"I chose to get in the vehicle," said Davis, who teaches the younger of the girls. "Those are my children 180 days out of the year. I just did what I had to do. I just had to do my job."

The SUV took off anyway, nearly hitting a school counselor, but was stopped by authorities two miles away, on Windsor Spring Road.

The pupils' mother and grandmother, who was driving, were arrested. Officials said the mother wasn't on the school's approved list to take the children and had been told so earlier in the day, when she tried to check the girls out just before school was dismissed.

The mother was identified as Naydra N. Jenkins, 39, and the grandmother as Geraldine W. Myers, 58, said school safety Chief Patrick Clayton. Both were charged with interference with schools, a misdemeanor, and booked at the Richmond County Jail, the chief said.

Clayton said the girls' father lives in the Augusta area but the mother had been staying in Alaska. Authorities said their father hadn't included their mother on the schools' approved list for pick-ups.

Hephzibah Elementary Principal Frances Ellison said she didn't know the mother's reason for wanting to check the children out. She said after being denied, the mother waited until school ended and pulled the children into the SUV.

Ellison said that's when her school's workers, who didn't know who the mother was, went into action: Davis entered the vehicle, a counselor moved in front of the SUV, and a school nurse wrote the tag number on her hand. A parent ran to a nearby police station to alert authorities, and school workers called school safety with a description of the vehicle.

"My people worked very good today," Ellison said.

Lynne Pinson is the counselor who stepped in front of the SUV.

"I backed up three times," she said. "The last time, the car touched me, and I just got out of the way."

Pinson credits Davis for protecting the pupils.

"Kristi Davis is our hero," she said. "She entered that car because she refused to let go ... and that's the kind of teacher she is."

"I will say she went above and beyond," Clayton added.

Davis, who doesn't have children, said she considers her students family.

"I'm going to protect my children just like I would want somebody to protect mine when I have them," she said.

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AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 05/13/10 - 03:22 pm
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Brave but stupid on the

Brave but stupid on the teachers part. Glad this turned out well.

gaflyboy
5035
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gaflyboy 05/13/10 - 04:36 pm
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"Stupid" AugustaVoter? One

"Stupid" AugustaVoter? One never knows how they'll react in such situations, but this teacher is a hero in my book! Upon sorting this out, we may find that there's much more to this story, but I too am glad it turned out well.

Frank I
1191
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Frank I 05/13/10 - 04:47 pm
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I would give all praise to

I would give all praise to any teacher that were to put my children before herself in such a manner..

mystery30815
18
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mystery30815 05/13/10 - 04:58 pm
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0
The teacher in question is a

The teacher in question is a wonderful teacher!

Jillian
2
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Jillian 05/13/10 - 05:01 pm
0
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The teacher should have

The teacher should have gotten the license plate number and called 911. If she was outside doesn't that mean she was in charge of supervising other children for bus duty or something? It would be pretty disturbing if she left her assigned duty risking the well being of many other kid's for this specific case.

I understand people react different in emergencies, but as a paid professional teacher's should follow protocol according to how they were trained. I am quite sure their training did not include jumping in a car with strangers like this story described.

Jillian
2
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Jillian 05/13/10 - 05:01 pm
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The teacher should have

The teacher should have gotten the license plate number and called 911. If she was outside doesn't that mean she was in charge of supervising other children for bus duty or something? It would be pretty disturbing if she left her assigned duty risking the well being of many other kid's for this specific case.

I understand people react different in emergencies, but as a paid professional teacher's should follow protocol according to how they were trained. I am quite sure their training did not include jumping in a car with strangers like this story described.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 05/13/10 - 05:03 pm
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I did say brave. She should

I did say brave. She should have gotten a description of the vehicle and given that to authorities. Because of her actions she caused officers to worry about yet another person in danger. So instead of the 3 or 4 people then they had a fifth! That is why I said stupid. That teacher is extremely lucky they did not get beaten, dragged or killed.

Grasshopper
7
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Grasshopper 05/13/10 - 05:06 pm
0
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I would have done the same.

I would have done the same. There are no protocals when it comes to the saftey of a child. She is a hero, and then those who are spineless.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 05/13/10 - 05:07 pm
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0
I also agree with Jillian's

I also agree with Jillian's comment. She abandoned her post. Let officers do their job and risk their lives for people. Oh and by the way, officers still located and apprehended the suspects with or without the teacher in the car.

forthecurious
0
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forthecurious 05/13/10 - 05:39 pm
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0
She did NOT abandon her post.

She did NOT abandon her post. She did what she thought she needed to do at the time. I am absurd at the judgmental comments some of you people post on here. While her jumping into this car did add another person for the officials to be concerned about, she was more worried about allowing an unfit person to leave school grounds with two innocent children. These students are the responsibility of the school until they are dismissed to the appropriate adult. Kudos to this teacher for taking her responsibity seriously. And shame on you people for having nothing better to do than pass judgment!

Grasshopper
7
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Grasshopper 05/13/10 - 05:54 pm
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I wonder if these people are

I wonder if these people are parents? It's a natural instinct to save an endangered child. If a child is drowning, are you going to wait for a life guard? They must be civil servants, only they would be worried about bureaucracy.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 05/13/10 - 06:01 pm
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I think better termed would

I think better termed would be brave but dangerous. But she endangered her own life to possibly save a child from being kidnapped and never seen again. Stupid for her own safety maybe, but very unselfish and brave to save a child, which I'm sure the kids safety was more important to her. I hope my childrens teacher would have done the same thing to save my child. Had she only gotten a tag number and the kid was never seen again, she probably wouldn't be able to live with herself. Thank God it all worked out okay.

curly123053
4910
Points
curly123053 05/13/10 - 07:17 pm
0
0
Part of the job of monitors

Part of the job of monitors is looking out for the safety and welfare of the students. This teacher was alert enough to see that something was not right and reacted to protect the student's safety. I would have done the same thing. She was not the only teacher out there to keep a watch on all the kids.I thank God that teacher recognized the need to act.

corgimom
34004
Points
corgimom 05/13/10 - 07:44 pm
0
0
Jillian, for all the teacher

Jillian, for all the teacher knew, that child would be abducted and seriously harmed or killed.

Decent people, teachers or no, step in when a child- any child- is threatened.

No, you can't train basic human decency into someone. You either have it- or you don't.

And Jillian, sounds to me like somebody DID get the tag number and called 911.

Good luck to you if someone ever threatens you. We'll all just stand by and watch- and take down the tag number and call 911.

The teacher is to be commended. Period.

johnnywhittle
0
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johnnywhittle 05/13/10 - 08:14 pm
0
0
No, she did not leave her

No, she did not leave her post without letting her coworkers know. I went to the school and talked with the teacher; because she is like one of my daughters. That's the reason they got the tag and called 911. She feels that this is her duty---to protect the children. I wonder if some of you who posted the negitive comments, would even consider doing this. Probably no; but you are quick to judge without knowing the facts. We need some real men where I work--come on down. Be as big as your mouth. I hope that my grandchild can get a teacher just like her.

adavis284
0
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adavis284 05/13/10 - 08:15 pm
0
0
I was there, and I know her

I was there, and I know her personally. To answer some of yalls comments, NO she did not leave her post. No she did not leave any children unattended, she was not in class also the bell had not rang yet so she was not leaving any children that were waiting to be put on a bus. She was in the office when this happened. She loves all her students and I would have done the same myself. She is a hero and if someone tried to kidnap my children I would want someone to do all they could to get them back. The police were called before she could even get out of the parking lot, and she was pulled over not even 2 miles down the road. If she had not done her job and looked to see if the mom was someone who could "sign out" the children who knows where or what would have happened to those children. They told the mom she could not take them home so she grabbed them and ran.

curly123053
4910
Points
curly123053 05/13/10 - 08:53 pm
0
0
There are some who see

There are some who see something amiss and decide to cross over to the other side of the road instead of acting. Then there are others who put their true concerns into action to help someone in need. Like the parable of the good samaritan. I know which ones up there would walk to the other side of the road instead of helping someone. Bible stories from way back then still ring true today.

disssman
6
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disssman 05/13/10 - 08:57 pm
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I am wondering why the mother

I am wondering why the mother can't pick up her children?

adavis284
0
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adavis284 05/13/10 - 09:20 pm
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0
K

K

adavis284
0
Points
adavis284 05/13/10 - 09:20 pm
0
0
K

K

jenharman
0
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jenharman 05/13/10 - 09:09 pm
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I am a teacher at Hephzibah

I am a teacher at Hephzibah Elementary. This teacher is a wonderful teacher and no one knows what they would do unless put in this situation. She did not abandon her post. We all work together very well to keep things flowing smoothly. She did not have car rider duty, the ones on duty remained on duty.

MrsAlicia
0
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MrsAlicia 05/13/10 - 09:38 pm
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disssman - There are a number

disssman - There are a number of reasons a child may not be able to pick up their kids. Chief among them is not having custody.

educator09
0
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educator09 05/13/10 - 09:40 pm
0
0
As a teacher who works very

As a teacher who works very closely with the teacher in question, I am very proud of my friend for risking her own safety for that of one of her "babies" as she refers to them. This teacher goes above and beyond the duties and responsiblities of a teacher to ensure only the BEST for her students. These children are in our care for 7 hours every day and we love them. She did the only thing any teacher would have or could have done in this situation. Thank you to this HES teacher for caring and loving our students so much. I am proud to say I have the privilege to work along side this fine lady every day.

KATIEBIRD61402
0
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KATIEBIRD61402 05/13/10 - 09:51 pm
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My son goes to this school,

My son goes to this school, and I can only hope that if he were in harms way, someone would care as much as this teacher did, and step up to help! It is ashamed that some of you have negative comments to make about this teacher, or any teacher who helps a child. These teachers are over worked and under paid, and I have seen that they often show more care and concern to thier students than the childrens own parents do. Maybe you should think about how you would have felt if it were YOUR child, or loved one, being snatched away and scared to death, while somebody just stood there and watched it happen.

Austin Rhodes
2905
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Austin Rhodes 05/14/10 - 12:45 am
0
0
As I said on the air the

As I said on the air the moment I heard about what Kristi Davis did, she is a HERO, and a woman we should all be proud is an Augusta area teacher.

I am thrilled...THRILLED...that there are courageous souls who put their own welfare aside for the innocent.

As for AugustaVoter and Jillian...if EVERYONE behaved like Kristi did in the midst of a crisis, we would soon have a crime free world...not to mention two tall buildings still standing at the World Trade Center.

This lady deserves a MEDAL...and I am going to work on behalf of getting her one!

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/14/10 - 02:00 am
0
0
Abandoned her post? What

Abandoned her post? What kind of idiot are you? There was a counselor and nurse present as well. Obviously this was a situation that required quick thinking and action (besides simply doing your job and calling 911). This teacher went above and beyond, did a great job and the last thing she or others need is idiots monday morning quaterbacking on here. And, since you don't know what "protocal" is in this situation (Do whatever it takes to stop it from happening) then you certainly can not condem her for what she did. This is a great and caring person who risked her own life for the life of the children in her care and the same goes for the counselor and all others who "got involved" vs. sitting on the sidelines as most Americans do nowdays.

kat30815
14
Points
kat30815 05/14/10 - 04:05 am
0
0
Now watch the great leaders

Now watch the great leaders of the school system fire this teacher when she should receive praise and get back pay for any furlough days she may have worked. The chronicle should follow this and make sure she isn't reprimanded for acting out of instinct to protect these children.

Just My Opinion
5856
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Just My Opinion 05/14/10 - 04:37 am
0
0
Thank you so much, Ms. Davis!

Thank you so much, Ms. Davis! Anyone who has a child would feel great comfort in knowing that their little loved one is in the care of someone who would risk themselves to save them. I'm glad everything turned out well.

leah2
0
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leah2 05/14/10 - 05:36 am
0
0
Leave it to the fine people

Leave it to the fine people of Augusta to find something negative to say about this woman. Bravo to Ms. Davis.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 05/14/10 - 06:23 am
0
0
I am sure all the whiners

I am sure all the whiners would be more than grateful if that had been THEIR children being taken without permission. Just because someone is a birth mother doesn't make them a mom. All you have to do is look at the news lately. I have never seen so many cases of parents hurting their own children as I have in the past few weeks. It is sick. I think what she did was what any caring individual would do if they saw a child threatened.

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