WKRN News 2

Alabama student left at Nashville Zoo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An elementary student on a field trip from Alabama was left behind at the Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo spokesperson Jim Bartoo said the child was at the zoo Monday on a field trip from Julie Newman Elementary School in Athens, Alabama.

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The student became separated from the group, found an zoo employee at a restaurant and indicated he thought he had been left behind.

“We started our lost child protocol and security was called. They took care of the child until the parents showed up,” said Bartoo.

“We kept him safe and in a room, he was watching cartoons, took a nap for a while, you know he was okay,” Bartoo said. “I think that like anybody who gets separated from their group, he was a little nervous about that for the most part. We took really good care of him.”

On Wednesday, Athens City Schools released a statement about the incident:

Athens City Schools can confirm that an elementary school student was left at the Nashville Zoo while on a field trip on Monday, March 21. A parent of the student involved has asked us not to comment any more than necessary, and we want to honor that request. The student was safe with a Nashville Zoo employee until picked up by his parents, and school officials communicated regularly with the parents and zoo personnel until arrival back to Alabama.

According to Superintendent Beth Patton, “We are so glad that the student was safe and knew what procedures to follow, and we appreciate the protocols in place at the zoo for instances such as this. As you can imagine, we are all devastated that this occurred. We are currently reviewing this matter and our field trip procedures.”


Zoo officials said they aren’t sure how long the student was on their own before asking for help. The child’s parents later picked him up from the zoo.

The Nashville Zoo added when field trips come through they have all the information they need to contact the school and registered chaperones, in order to get lost student back where they need to be.