3rd-graders who wandered off from recess found at McDonald's a mile away

Elena Sheppard
Wellness Editor
Missing students were found at a local McDonald's. (Photo: Getty)

Last Wednesday, two third-graders at Holly Springs Elementary School in Holly Springs, N.C. managed to wander off from recess and walk a mile to the local McDonald’s. A parent discovered the kids after police had started a search.

In a correspondence from the school’s principal, Sarah Simmons, shared by a local ABC affiliate, she informed parents of the incident, writing, “At approximately 2:50 this afternoon, the third-grade students lined up to return to the building at the end of recess. Upon entering the building, the teachers determined that two students were missing. I was immediately notified and we began a search of the campus and called their parents. I also notified the Holly Springs Police Department that the children were missing.

“After receiving a call from a concerned citizen (that also happens to be a Holly Grove parent), the police found the students at a McDonald’s about one mile from campus and returned them to school. I will be determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure that the students understand the severity of their actions.”

Sgt. Tom Brienzi of the Holly Springs Police Department told ABC 11 that the police force had started strategically placing officers in the area to set up a perimeter when the citizen call came in.

"All of us began breathing again at that point," said Sgt. Brienzi."Once they maintained custody of those children and confirmed we had exactly who we thought we had, we were all able to take a sigh of relief at that point."

The school, which did not immediately reply to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment, is now using this as a lesson learned, and as Principal Simmons wrote in her email to parents, “Our staff will use this as a learning opportunity to continue to improve our supervisory practices.”

Both Principal Simmons and the Holly Springs police are also using this as an opportunity to remind parents to teach their children important lessons about following rules, especially rules about not wandering off. As local parent Korey Tibbet said in an interview with the local affiliate, “Thank God everything worked out well. Nobody got hurt.”

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.