Mother of teen locked in a Roosevelt Middle School stairwell for nine hours speaks out

A 13-year-old Roosevelt Middle School student was trapped inside his school for nine hours Thursday night.

David Fields, and his family, told NBC10 he attempted to sneak out the stairwell doors at dismissal time to avoid bullies, but became locked between both stairwell doors when he tried to go back the way he came.

The mother went to the school to search for him with no luck. She then filed a missing person’s report with police. After midnight, school police allowed the family to search for the boy a second time. His father and uncle found him yelling for help in the stairwell.

“He was scared, [it] was very traumatic, he was cold, hungry, everything. I’m just glad that he was safe. … Lord knows I was scared. At 12:30 at night, I had to wait for the school police to come to open the door to find him,” mother, Angela Johnson, told reporters outside the school this morning.

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The school is conducting an investigation to determine how the young man got locked inside the stairwell, said Fernando Gallard, chief of communications for the School District of Philadelphia.

“We do lock stairwells in a procedure that must be followed,” he said. “The last person in the building has to lock all doors to the outside. There is an exception with one in the back and one in the front that is not locked. The stairwells themselves are all padlocked.”

According to Gallard, Roosevelt Middle School principal Stefanie Ressler spoke with the boy’s family this morning and is taking steps to offer him support. Gallard added that one of David’s friends told officials in a statement that David told them yesterday at dismissal he was going to take a shortcut.

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