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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A school district is investigating to figure out what went wrong after a little boy with special needs wandered away from school and walked several blocks on his own.
The playground for children with special needs is in the middle of Stults Road Elementary’s campus surrounded by buildings on three sides. It still isn’t clear how the boy got away from an area that should have been secure and closely monitored.
As soon as Jason Caswell saw the little boy he guesses is between five and seven years old, he knew he was too small to be walking by himself.
“If that was my kid, I would be furious. I mean I’m furious for that children’s parents,” Caswell said.
When the little boy walked from the sidewalk into the street and almost got hit by a car, that’s when Caswell pulled over to try to help.
Caswell noticed the boy wouldn’t speak to him. Two women who live nearby also came to help and one was familiar with the special needs program at the school a few blocks away. The three followed the boy as he kept walking, and Caswell called the school to learn they were missing a student.
“I just don’t see how you could possibly let one of these kids get loose and wander this far away,” Caswell said.
“That’s an excellent question, and that’s part of what the district is ascertaining today. There’s certainly no excuse for that. That is a serious breakdown that put a student in danger,” Richardson ISD’s Tim Clark said.
According to the district this is the first child to undo a latch to the fence surrounding the playground for students with special needs. He tells us normally there are three to four staff members on hand to monitor the 34 students on the playground.
“The district is still gathering information as to where the breakdown occurred. Was it a breakdown in process? Was it a breakdown related to staff? Was it both?” Clark said.
“Somebody like me may not show up the next time,” Caswell said.
The school district says the boy was not hurt and his parents are grateful and relieved he was found safe. RISD plans to give staff members additional training once its investigation is complete.