It was early in the school year—an August afternoon—when elementary teacher Ginger Taylor spotted something unusual on the playground.
Two grown men were walking onto the playground filled with young children, and heading straight for a 5-year-old girl. Then they started leading her away from the other children.
Taylor sprinted for the men, aiming to grab the little girl away from them. However, they overpowered her, pushing her to the ground, and they made off with the girl.
But Taylor wasn’t deterred for a second; she got up, followed the men to their vehicle, and wrote down the license plate so she could alert school authorities. The School Resource Officer (SRO) then spread the word to be on the lookout for the men and contacted the local Sheriff’s Office.
Because of Taylor’s resourcefulness, the two suspects were quickly captured. Not 10 minutes after she made the call, the men—the child’s non-custodial father and a friend—were detained nearby before they could board a private aircraft, which had taken them from Mississippi to Georgia.
Ginger Taylor was hailed a hero after this horrifying 2015 incident, but she credited a higher power that was right there with her, protecting her and the child.
Westside Principal Suzanne Tanner said the 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.”
“It’s unthinkable for us,” Tanner said, resolving to prepare even harder in the future for the unpredictable, and expressing how proud she was of the staff. “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.”
The Sheriff’s Office added that if it were not for Taylor’s description, the child would not have been saved so quickly.
“I certainly couldn’t have had a better witness than Ms. Taylor. She passed the information on to our SRO, they got in touch with 911, we dumped everybody out of the sheriff’s office. Everybody stopped what they were doing and focused on the school and the surrounding part of the county,” said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine.
“She gave us the description of the car, we knew what the driver looked like, we knew the tag number, and that’s very unusual to have all that information,” Prine said. “Within 15 minutes, we had him cuffed and the child in custody.”