EDMOND, Okla. - An Oklahoma mom said she's concerned after her child walked away from school alone without any school officials noticing.
Melanie Austin is the mom of three children, one of whom goes to Grove Valley Elementary School in Edmond.
Austin told us her 5-year-old son, Jayce, went to the school nurse last week because he was sick.
"He was in gym class, and that’s when he told the teacher his brain hurt so he had a headache, didn’t feel well," Austin said. "So, they sent him to the office. He got his temperature, and they said, 'Well, you need to go home.'"
Little Jayce did just that.
News 4 learned her son went back to his home room class, told his teacher he was sent home and walked out the school doors.
He made it to a clubhouse after a half mile away when two women driving by noticed Jayce and called the school.
"Who knows, he could have been swept up, and I even tried to tell him that people can pick you up and run," she said. "He said, 'No, I can fight.' I was like, 'You’re pretty little.'"
A statement from Lenis DeRieux, assistant superintendent for Deek Creek Public Schools, said:
"Deer Creek School's #1 priority is the safety of students. We immediately investigated and took action regarding this situation on December 4th, the very day it occurred. Both the principal and superintendent have been in contact with the family. Although we feel Grove Valley is an extremely safe school and environment, it appears the perfect storm occurred where each party did exactly what they were supposed to but the understanding of the situation was different by the student. The staff who typically oversee the front door at that very time received 8 sick students in the clinic so were not able to have a visual on the door for several minutes which is when the student walked out. We have made some additional adjustments and revisions to our procedures in order to eliminate this situation in the future. This incident has not occurred ever before, was taken very seriously and addressed immediately."
News 4 sent the following questions to Deer Creek, and these are the answers we received:
Q: When a child is reported sick, what's the process of getting him/her home?A: Children are to report to the main office where they wait until a parent comes in to check them out.Q: We’re told this has happened before at Grove Valley; however, the statement you provided indicated it was the first time. Have parents ever expressed their concerns about this in the past?A: Not that I can recall. If you know of an instance, please share with us.Q: Could you provide examples of what sort of revisions/adjustments you have made to the procedures?A: Internal processes and procedures that refine and follow up in regards to communication.
Austin said she's grateful nothing happened to her son. While she said she does not blame her son's teacher, she would like to see some changes.
"I don’t think they should ever been unattended, like escort them," she said. "If I pick up Jayce early, they’ll send kindergartners together so they will be buddied up, but I still don’t think that’s safe."
Austin said her son's teacher has informed her she will be escorting all of her students from now on.