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Is the School Responsible for Sick 7-Year-Old Who Walked Home Alone?

Posted by on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:11 AM
  • 243 Replies

School Is Not Responsible for Sick 7-Year-Old Who Walked Home Alone

by Mary Fischer

little girl walkingA mom in Missouri is understandably freaking out a little bit after her 7-year-old daughter walked home from school after visiting the school nurse because she felt sick.

Supposedly the nurse told Emily Box to go and get her backpack because her father was coming to pick her up from school. Somehow the little girl misunderstood and wound up walking past the principal's office and straight out the front door. And then she managed to make the one-mile trek back to her home, where her father found her on the front porch.

Her mom Kristi explains, "On her walk home, she had to walk past a sex offender's house, over train tracks, past a creek and all with no sidewalks."

More from The Stir: 6 Signs Your Child Is Too Sick for School

The little girl, of course, was totally unfazed and saw the whole thing as an adventure. But of course, her parents are pretty pissed and are even contemplating moving her to another school.

Ugh. I can't even begin to imagine how panicked her parents must have been during the hour she was gone. I know I'd absolutely freak if my 7-year-old's whereabouts were unknown -- but I'm just not sure the school is to blame in this case.

Ok, so it's a little strange that Emily was able to walk out of the school without anyone noticing -- but it's not like the staff shoved her out the door and sent her on her merry way. The nurse supposedly gave her instructions and informed her that her dad would be there to pick her up. It really sounds like she either a) did not understand, or b) decided to take it upon herself to head home instead of waiting for her father's arrival. She's 7 -- not 5. Seven-year-olds are perfectly capable of listening to and following directions, so it is possible she just felt like taking a walk ... right?

And when the school did realize she was missing, they did the right thing by going into lockdown and conducting a thorough search for her. Had they been nonchalant about the whole deal, I can see where the parents are justified in complaining. But based on the turn of events that occurred -- it really does appear to be nothing but a big miscommunication.

Yes, we should expect schools to keep our kids safe and do everything possible to avoid "losing" them. But we also have to realize the people who work there are only human, and sometimes mistakes like this do happen. Maybe this incident will help this school tighten their policies a little more so another child doesn't wind up taking a hike in the future. But in the meantime, Emily's parents probably shouldn't be too concerned about sending their daughter back. Heck, she's probably safer than any other child in that school at this point. Do you really think they'd run the risk of letting her slip away again?

Do you think the school is at fault here?

by on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:11 AM
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Replies (1-10):
imakehimscream
by He screams on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:15 AM
5 moms liked this
Yes why would they let the child walk out the door?
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:16 AM
No but they could have watched her a little better. My kids school they stay in nurses office with nurse or aide till parent comes.
TerraIncognita
by Gold Member on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:17 AM
2 moms liked this
Yes. She was still in the school's care when she left.
mom2the.rescue
by Gold Member on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:17 AM

It's the girl's fault she left...but she's 7...and she knew her way home & didn't want to wait for her dad lol.  The school's at fault too, b/c she is only 7 and they didn't notice her leave.  Do I think she should be pulled out of that school?  Definitely not.  Like you said, I highly doubt that school would ever let this happen again lol.

NatalieVA131
by Silver Member on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:17 AM
3 moms liked this
Obviously they did not see her or I'm sure they would have stopped her.

Quoting imakehimscream: Yes why would they let the child walk out the door?
BlueSparrow
by Silver Member on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM
1 mom liked this

The Nurse should have walked her to the office.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM
1 mom liked this
YES. She was under their care at the time and it was their responsibility to watch her. The school administration should set a better example to the kids, own up to their failure, and issue a genuine apology.
suzanneyea
by Ruby Member on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM
1 mom liked this

My school has an electric door, they have to be buzzed in and out.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM
10 moms liked this

 She is 7 she should have known better. I have five kids and my youngest is 6 years old. If she did that she would be in trouble not the school. At 7 she shouldnt need constant supervision. That child needs to be punished.

hautemama83
by Emerald Member on Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM
2 moms liked this
Ultimately yes it was the schools fault. She should've been under adult supervision. Being that she walked out the front doors, clearly she wasn't being supervised enough. Granted the school reacted appropriately, they should've appropriately prevented the situation.
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