Education

How did a kindergartner escape school unnoticed until he walked in his house?

Christina Broughton said her 5-year-old son, Frankie, a kindergarten student, walked away from Mary Todd Elementary unnoticed during the school day. District officials say they will improve safety measures.
Christina Broughton said her 5-year-old son, Frankie, a kindergarten student, walked away from Mary Todd Elementary unnoticed during the school day. District officials say they will improve safety measures. Provided photo

After a parent complained that her Mary Todd Elementary kindergarten student left the school unnoticed during the school day and walked home, Fayette County Public Schools have imposed new safety measures.

Christina Broughton said her five-year-old son Frankie “walked right out of his classroom and out the front door” then walked the two and a half blocks to their home.

Broughton said she was sitting in her living room when her son walked through the front door. “All he said was that he missed me.”

“Yesterday morning (Thursday), we had a very unusual individual situation in which a kindergarten student asked a teacher to go to the restroom and instead left the school and walked home,” district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said. “The teacher felt the child was in the bathroom too long and went to check on them, and when they found that they were not in the restroom, went to the front office and the child and the parent had already return to school.”

Deffendall said the entire incident took under 15 minutes because the teacher checked on the child after five minutes and then walked to the front office.

“Student safety is a priority for the Fayette County Public Schools and we are very concerned about this situation,” Deffendall said. “The principal has worked with the family and staff involved to put preventative measures in place for this student moving forward. Additionally, the Elementary Office of School Leadership will be working with Mary Todd Elementary to review and strengthen safety procedures schoolwide.”

The safety measures include increased supervision and changes to bathroom procedures.

Broughton said she is “severely” concerned that Mary Todd Elementary has a pattern of not watching students closely because her older son, now in second grade, was able to leave the school two years ago at recess unnoticed and was “lost” at dismissal and ended up being found after two hours alone in the school gym.

Broughton said she thinks there should be a buzzer on the doors of the schools so school staff would know if a student left unattended.

She said that school district officials did not respond to her concerns until she contacted WLEX-TV.

Broughton said was waiting to see if school district officials adequately changed their procedures.

“Maybe they will do something to prevent a future incident or something even worse,” Broughton said. “I’m lucky that my son came home to me. I really am.”

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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