NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A family was demanding answers Friday evening, after a pre-kindergarten student allegedly walked of his Brooklyn school unnoticed and wearing no jacket.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the boy, Symier Talley, was in the restroom at P.S. 59 William Floyd in Bedford-Stuyvesant and became spooked when someone mistakenly turned out the light, community advocate Tony Herbert said.
“I’m upset, because anything could have happened,” said Symier’s mother, Quantasia Jasper.
Symier told his mother he returned to his classroom to find no one there. He then apparently left the school at 211 Throop Ave. in Brooklyn, and walked a few blocks to his family’s house.
“He came home. He left,” Jasper said. “He didn’t see anyone, so of his own initiative, he walked out and came home.”
The child’s parents live nearby in the Sumner Houses public housing development. In fact, their building is next door to the school, but it’s a walk of nearly a block — and the temperature was around 12 degrees, with a windchill near zero.
Someone let Symier into his building.
“Before 10 o’clock, my son was knocking on the door to come in the house. No jacket, nothing on, pants down, trying to pull them up,” Jasper said. “He looked really nervous, and I asked him if he was OK. He said he was scared.”
While the school has a security post at the main entrance, the child apparently walked out thru a secondary door. Parents leaving school on Friday had letters explaining what happened, and saying security will be beefed up, including alarms on secondary doors.
But activist Herbert said the incident was unacceptable.
“It’s ridiculous that this child was able to walk from the school to his house and not be detected by anybody that’s an official at that school,” Herbert told 1010 WINS. “This child walked those blocks in New York City by himself.”
Herbert said it’s shocking that this was allowed to happened just months after a 14-year-old Queens boy with autism walked out of his school undetected. The search for Avonte Oquendo gripped the city after he ran out of his Long Island City school on Oct. 4. The case came to a tragic end this month when his remains were found washed up along the East River in College Point.
“Something has to be done to ensure the safety of our children,” Herbert stated. “This could have had a much more devastating outcome. There are a lot of scenarios that could have played out here and we are only glad that we are not planning a funeral or have another family suffering through a massive missing person search to find their child because of someone’s incompetence in not doing their job.”
“This kid found his way home, thank God, Avonte Oquendo did not find his way home,” Herbert said.
The child’s family was grateful that nothing happened to their son, but still has demanding action.
“Nobody wants to see anybody fired, but these school officials have to be retrained, that’s what we’re calling for,” Herbert said.
Symier’s family also said despite the proposed security measures, the boy will not be going back to P.S. 59.
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