The Wake County Public School System is apologizing and Aversboro Elementary is changing its policies after a 5-year-old girl left school with no one to take her home.
Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for the school district, said the child, who lives close by the school, was supposed to walk home with her family member, but that the person did not show up. So the child left with a group of adults and students.
“She, with a large group with adults, older students and under the supervision of a crossing guard, crossed the street,” Luten said in an email. “At the neighborhood, she walked a short distance in the company of that same group. She was not, however, in the supervision of a member of her family.”
Usually, the teacher walks the students to the crossing guard, Luten said. Some students are met by parents, older siblings or just walk home with the group. After they cross the street, the group continues without the teacher.
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“So, this child was with their neighborhood friends and parents, but not with the person who was responsible for taking them home,” she said. “At this point, the teacher should have walked the child back to the school.”
The school does not allow kindergarten and first-grade students to walk home without an adult or older sibling.
“The child did not mention to a grown up that her routine was disrupted,” Luten said.
The News & Observer’s news partner ABC11 reported that the mother was upset that her child left school without her brother and without staff stopping her.
“My child could have easily been hit,” Christina Williams told ABC11.
The school has taken responsibility for the incident and will implement changes to its policy.
The school will now require parents of all students who walk from school to complete a form and indicate if the child has permission to leave the campus on their own, walk with an older sibling, or if they’re only allowed to leave the school campus with an adult.
The school will also implement a color-coded card system to serve as a visual indicator to staff of which children are allowed to leave campus and which require an adult chaperone.
“Our students’ safety is our top priority and we will use this opportunity to improve our safety procedures,” Luten said. “We appreciate the responsible care, attention, and assistance some of our older students provided this child Wednesday to ensure she got home safely.”