There was confusion, anger, and shock.
That’s how Cecilia Willis felt when her neighbour told her that Isiah, her 5-year-old son, was found walking home from school alone.
“She was like, ‘He said he walked.’ And I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I know how far I live from the school so no way he walked home.”
After a 5-year-old student was forced to walk home from school, the principal of a Lee County school said she was sorry and would change the safety measures at the school. The child’s mother called Fox 4 to say that her son, who goes to preschool at Tropic Isles Elementary School, walked almost 4 miles to get home.
“You’re going to release a 5-year-old just to walk down a road and wander off? It makes no sense.”
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That distance is about 3.5 miles. Not to mention all of the busy intersections.
“When the neighbor found him, he was completely dehydrated,” said Willis. “He just asked for some water, he was thirsty.”
Mom said that Isiah was supposed to take the bus on Wednesday. Mom asked the school to have his grandmother pick him up on Tuesday, the day before. Instead, they put him on the list as a walker, and he met her around the corner. Which seems to be where the confusion comes from.
Isiah was supposed to ride the bus home from school on Wednesday, but by the time school was over, he was marked as a walker instead. So he walked.
“She had marked him as a walker when he was really supposed to take the bus to daycare,” said Willis.
Fox 4 sent an email to the people in charge at Lee School to find out what happened. A spokesperson for the district said it was a mistake and that the principal will meet with the mother today to explain. The meeting ended with apologies and changes to how things are done at the school.
The district says that the school will make changes to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
“That’s just unacceptable for them to release him without an adult.”
The school district hasn’t said who will be punished. But they told us that the principal took responsibility and apologised to the parent of the student.