BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo family wants to see changes at a local charter school, after their 5-year-old son was able to leave school property during dismissal time and was found wandering the streets of the city’s East Side.
“Yes, I’m still kind of traumatized behind all of that,” said Nakia Anderson who is still upset over what happened to her five-year-old son nearly three weeks ago at King Center Charter School, in how during school dismissal time, her son, Lamar, a kindergartner was able to wander off of school property alone.
“I don’t understand how he got past all them people, all them adults they said they have crossing guards around and I don’t understand how nobody didn’t see him,” Anderson said.
Earlier in the week, Lamar was getting picked up from school by a family member. It was on April 26 Nakia changed his dismissal routine.
Lamar’s mother called ahead that day for her son to go from being in the pickup line to be put into the bus line, but that message never got filtered from the front office to Lamar’s teacher, so Lamar was still brought outside to be picked up, it turns out he was able to wander off of school property about a quarter of a mile away.
Nakia says her son was found by a stranger several blocks away at the corner of Delavan Avenue and Texas Street and was then brought to the Buffalo Police Department’s E District. In order for Lamar to get to that street corner he would’ve had to cross at least one street by himself.
There is some dispute on how long Lamar was alone. His mom says it was an hour, but the school says it was only a few minutes.
“And they said when he was trying to cross the street it was a truck a big semi truck almost hit him and that’s when someone got out of their car and grabbed him and I want to thank the person who found him as well,” Anderson said, “Somehow they were able to contact my mom because she was calling around and somehow they got her number and was like we have your grandson.”
School leaders say it has written protocols and there was a miscommunication in school. Leaders say the principal has met with that staff member who took Nakia’s call and Lamar’s teacher. Nakia wants to see reforms at the school. Since this incident, King Center Charter has updated its protocols at dismissal time. Students will remain in class and be dismissed one-by-one when their ride is outside.
King Center also says it’s working with a risk management consultant to see if other changes are needed. Nakia says this incident has caused her to pull her son out of the school and find a new one. Nakia says she recently has had pregnancy complications and that this matter has increased her stress.
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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.