5-year-old kindergartner wanders away from Santee elementary school

Posted at 5:04 PM, May 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-24 21:25:27-04

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) - A kindergartner walked out of his Santee school, crossed a busy four-lane road and made it to his home more than a mile away, his mother told 10News Thursday.

The Cajon Park Elementary student had been placed in a 3rd grade classroom with his upperclassman buddy when his grandmother arrived to pick him up.

According to the 5-year-old boy’s parents, the 3rd grade teacher told the boy to pack his things because he was going home and sent him to the office alone.

The boy didn’t fully understand the instructions and walked past the office to his home, crossing busy Magnolia Ave.

There is only one gate in and out of the school and the boy apparently passed through it undetected.

School administrators noticed the boy was missing about half an hour later and told his grandmother, who panicked.

The boy’s mother said she realized something was wrong when her doorbell camera sent an alert. She looked at the video and saw her son on the front porch with a woman approaching him.

The woman turned out to be a school administrator who had been searching for the boy.

Rob Cunningham has a kindergartner at the school and was concerned by the incident.

“We trust the school to know where our child is when we drop them off and expect them to be here when we pick them up,” Cunningham said.

Santee School District Superintendent Dr. Kristin Baranski responded to 10News’ request for comments, saying the boy was found safe within 15 minutes.

She added the school has a practice of sending a buddy with younger children when they need to visit the school office but in this case, the guest teacher did not follow the practice.

Administrators will put additional communication practices in place with guest teachers to make sure they are aware of the policy, Baranski said.