South Bay school doesn't notice when boy with autism wanders off campus

Posted at 11:27 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 15:09:46-05

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — A boy diagnosed with autism wandered away from his South Bay elementary school and is picked up by a stranger.

The child's father spoke only to 10News about the moment he heard his child was missing.

Richard Scherman dropped off his 11-year-old son at Central Elementary in Imperial Beach Monday morning.

“He went in line and then decided he wanted to leave," Scherman said. "He walked out (the) door while other kids were entering.”

Scherman claimed no one noticed his young son had wandered away from school.

The child, also named Richard, said he just wanted to go home, “to give my mom hugs and kisses.”

“Most kids they know better, but an autistic kid doesn't know better,” Scherman said. 

Scherman said the sixth grader walked down the block to a busy street where he crossed the road alone and then walked about a half mile.
“I got into the yellow truck and asked her for a ride," the little boy said. "I thought it was a taxi though.”

Thankfully, it was an elderly woman who realized something was terribly wrong. She called a relative who works for Chula Vista Police Department and he took the boy home.

Scherman confronted the school principal and asked for one specific thing.

“For the special needs kids they should have somebody there to check them in to make sure they're there," he said. 

For now, he's eternally thankful Richard is safe.

“Oh my God, anything could have happened," Scherman said. "You watch all these things on TV…I can't even think about it now.”

10News reached out to the superintendent who told us the school does have someone monitoring students as they come in but Scherman said it's only at the entrance for students in kindergarten through second grade.

The superintendent added the district will be reviewing security.