The parents of an 8-year-old child are furious. They say she was able to walk away from school and make it nearly a mile down a busy street alone. It happened at Bess Race Elementary in Crowley.
Crowley ISD said they knew where she was the whole time and had someone following her. But to the girl's parents, that wasn't good enough.
There is a lot of laughter in the Blodgett household, where 8-year-old Clare and her younger siblings play, always under the watchful eyes of an adult.
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But on Monday, her parents received a call that Clare had taken off on her own, walking nearly a mile back toward her mother's house, down a busy road with no sidewalks.
"My child walked off your campus when we put our trust in to you to watch our child," Clare's father Brian Blodgett said.
The District said she ran off during recess. But Clare told her parents she got hurt while playing and didn't make it back in with the other kids. Then the school doors locked automatically.
"She wanted to show me that she hurt herself at school and she was like, 'Well I can't get in the building, so I'm going to go tell mom,'" Clare's mother Kathleen Blodgett said. "So she started to walk home."
According to the district, a school employee saw Clare leave campus and called the principal to relay where Clare was, then followed behind in her car to keep an eye on her until the principal got there.
"You watched her walk off a campus?" Kathleen Blodgett said. "A school campus? How is that safety, anything could have happened to her on the way home."
"My daughter could have been abducted today," Brian Blodgett said. "She could have been run over today. She could have died today and the district just watched."
The parents are so upset they went to the police, but were told it was a school matter. Now all that matters to them is their daughter's safety.
"That's my child," Brian Blodgett said.
Crowley ISD sent the following statement.
“Today at Bess Race Elementary School, a student ran off campus during recess.
Because this situation involves a student at school, the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (FERPA) prevents the district from sharing specific details about the incident.
Most importantly, the student was brought back safely thanks to a Crowley ISD employee who saw the student running away from campus. That employee was able to drive behind the student while notifying the campus principal of the student’s location by phone. Thanks to the employee’s quick action, the principal was able to reach the student, return her safely to school and notify the student’s mother about the incident. Unfortunately, some of the information shared on social media by one of the student’s guardians was inaccurate, but FERPA prevents the district from addressing those inaccuracies.
We understand this incident is upsetting for the family of the student who ran off campus, but we are proud of our employees for responding quickly to this situation and for their dedication to protecting this student and every student in Crowley ISD.”