New principal named at school where girl was kidnapped
PHILADELPHIA - January 28, 2013 (WPVI) -- At a packed meeting at Bryant Elementary Monday night, Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite announced that following an investigation into the kidnapping of a 5-year-old girl, the district has decided to replace the principal at the school.
In addition, the district is taking action against three others.
"Our investigation found that we have to take action on four individuals and the school will also have a new administration," Hite said.
Hite says the new principal takes over at the start of school Tuesday.
His staff also reiterated strict new security protocols at the school that are being implemented at schools district wide.
State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, who has long had concerns about security at Bryant, was pleased with the changes.
"Things have changed. I think that, unfortunately, it's been a long time waiting. I'm grateful that the Superintendent has been so responsive and so direct and so blunt," Williams said.
Some parents also seemed pleased with the changes.
"I feel safer. It could always get better, but they improved," parent Najashia Hill said.
Earlier in the day, Philadelphia police released details about another 'person of interest' in the kidnapping and brutal assault of the 5-year-old girl.
Captain John Darby of the Special Victims Unit said police are looking for a teenage girl who may be named "China" or "Chyna."
That teen was described by the victim as being a 14 to 17-year-old light-skinned black female. The victim also told police the teen was in the house where she was held after the kidnapping.
It is not known what, if any, role the teen may have played in this case.
Police also said they expanded their search to include the 6200 block of Larchwood Street.
The reward for information leading to an arrest in this case now stands at $80,000.
The 5-year-old girl was kidnapped from her classroom at Bryant Elementary School by an unknown woman dressed in Muslim garb. That woman, who was caught on surveillance video, signed in and went to the girl's classroom. There, she told the substitute teacher she was the girl's mother and said she was taking her to breakfast.
When the substitute teacher challenged her, police say the woman got indignant, saying, "I signed what I was supposed to sign, I've got other appointments and I do not need to put up with your nonsense."
Investigators say after the woman left the school, she walked the child several blocks to a home in West Philadelphia, where the two were joined by a man. The girl was restrained there, police say, until another woman helped her get out of the house.
A passerby found the girl the next morning at a playground in Upper Darby. She was wearing only a t-shirt.
The woman being sought has been described as a dark-skinned black woman in her late 20s, standing 5' 5" to 5' 8" tall, with a thin build and possibly pregnant. Police say she told the child her name was Rashida.
The man being sought is described as a light-skinned, possibly white, man in his mid-thirties with short brown hair. The girl told police he was wearing sweat pants and a blue long-sleeved t-shirt.
The girl's mother, father, and the father's girlfriends have been interviewed by police.
While police have said she was assaulted, the details about what happened to her have not been released.
Radio One, owner of three popular FM radio stations, is running 60-second spots, urging the public to come forward and help police solve this heinous crime.
"We as Philadelphians and as black men in Philadelphia are not going to just allow this innocent child to be treated this way, her purity to be stolen in this way," radio personality Steve Collins said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), send a text message to PPD TIP (773847) or send a tip through phillypolice.com.
philadelphia, west philadelphia, missing children, missing person, abduction, amber alert, kidnapping, local/state
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