Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Child with autism wanders away from school

LANTANA, FL -- A ten-year-old with autism wandered away from his elementary school on the first day of class without anyone noticing.

Tatrisha Williams says she notified her son's school, Starlight Cove Elementary in Lantana, that she would pick him after class last Monday.

She claims the school even called her during the day to reconfirm. But, when Williams arrived at parent pick-up looking for her son, Joseph, he was nowhere to be found.

She claims she cried and panicked, and rushed back to her home.

There, on the doorstep, she found Joseph, soaking wet. Williams says he walked home, alone, in the rain.

Although their house is only about a block from school, Williams worries something terrible could have happened.

She tells WPTV NewsChannel 5, "He could walk a block; someone still could snatch him or he could get hit by a car. Anything, anything can happen to him."

She also worried Joseph could have had a seizure on the way home.

Williams explains, Joseph has a seizure disorder, and was brought to the school clinic after showing symptoms earlier in the day.

Joseph speaks very little, but told his mom, "I walked by myself...I wanted to see if you were at home."

Knowing his story, Williams now wants the school's explanation.

She wants to know, "How can a special needs child get away from so many adults that are supposed to be looking out for the kids safety."

Willimas goes on to say, "I would just like them to be alert, especially for the special needs kids because they can't look out for themseleves and anything can happen to them."

A Palm Beach County school District spokesperson didn't give an explanation, but tells WPTV NewsChannel 5, "We made a mistake and we have corrected it."

She goes on to say, "It won't happen again."

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