Child being left, locked out of Wake County elementary school prompts policy change

Wake County News

ROLESVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Sanford Creek Elementary School is changing one of their policies after a child was locked outside this week.

Danielle Washington said when she got home from work Wednesday, her 8-year-old daughter Essence was in tears.

“I guess she panicked, the way she was explaining herself. She said she started crying real hard and she said, ‘Mommy, it was hot,'” said Washington.

Washington said her daughter got locked out of Sanford Creek Elementary. She takes a van home after school that comes after the regular buses.

Essence said she was called to go outside to the van over the intercom. When she went outside, neither the van nor any teachers were there.

“No one was out there to oversee my child get on that van. Everybody left; that’s where I left trust in that school.”

Essence then tried to go back inside, but the doors were locked.

The school district told CBS 17 they reviewed the incident on their surveillance. A spokesperson said it showed Essence was locked outside for about three minutes.

A staff member then let her in and waited with her until the van came.

“The way they’re talking, they’re not even talking like it’s serious.”

Washington said she hasn’t received the same information from the principal or superintendent’s office and added a lot could’ve happened in her daughter’s time outside.

“I said, ‘Anybody could’ve walked up and took her.'”

The district said no policy was violated because the policy was for the students to be called to go outside. Now, they’ll be sent to wait in the office until the van comes.

Washington thinks it should be taken a step further. She wants staff to watch the kids get on the vans and make sure they’re safe so nothing like this happens again.

“Thoughts keep rolling in my head that something could’ve really happened to her, something major.”

The Wake County Public School System said it’s a year-round school, so sometimes if kids don’t get on the vans, faculty assumes they’re on their breaks. The new policy is expected to make their presence more clear.

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