Parents of a 5-year-old boy who walked home from school are calling for his elementary school in New York to make changes to its security measures.
William and Katie Matthies were surprised when they saw their son, who was supposed to be in his kindergarten class at Forest Lake Elementary School in Wantagh, standing outside of their front door with a neighbor, the parents told NBC New York.
“There was no one monitoring the hallways,” Katie Matthies said.
The parents of a 5-year-old Long Island boy are livid after their kindergartener was able to walk out of his elementary school undetected and walk a third of a mile to his house
His parents learned he had left school when they saw him on their home camerahttps://t.co/HLQ0It54sR
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) September 26, 2023
The Matthies’ son left the school through a side door after asking to use the restroom, the parents discovered.
Katie Matthies explained her son walked “down three hallways” before leaving the building. She explained the hallways were the one where his class is, the hallway with the bathroom, and the hallway with the side door where he left from. Along the walk home, which involved crossing three streets and one three-way intersection, a neighbor, Stuart Kavner, saw the boy and asked where he was going.
“He said, ‘I’m going home.’ I say, OK and I start walking behind him and he said, ‘You don’t have to walk behind me,'” Kavner told the outlet. “I said, I want to make sure you’re OK. I walked quite a ways to his house.”
William Matthies said he looked at his Ring camera and saw his son “with a strange man outside” the house door, adding that he didn’t know why his son was home.
Since the incident, the school district has made changes.
“We remain committed to ensuring best practices are in place and are continually reviewing our safety protocols,” the school said in a statement. “Since this incident occurred, the district has already put additional security measures in place.”
The school has reportedly given the Matthies’ son a learning aide, along with installing battery-operated doors.
“I feel like it’s our responsibility that all children in Wantagh are safe,” Katie Matthies said. “If my son can do this who else can do this. One time is too many, this is a call to action.”
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