This is one of those stories that turns otherwise sane people into helicopter moms and dad. When Tiffany Roberts of Winter Springs, Florida, went to pick up her 6-year-old daughter from school recently, she learned she wasn't there nor had she been for three hours.
She was supposed to have gone straight to the school's after-care program, but never made it. No one had any clue why or where Haleigh was. Again, she's 6!
Tiffany told WKMG, "I thought she was kidnapped. I was in tears. I was panicking. That's a mother's worst nightmare."
Fortunately, Haleigh is fine. It turns out that she'd gotten into the line of children who walk home and had mistakenly taken off with them. She somehow navigated an extremely busy road and eventually met up with a friend's teenage sister who must have taken her back to the school (the details on how she made it back are a little sparse). But it's painful to even imagine how many other terrifying endings this story could have had. A 6-year-old on her own for THREE Hours! Wandering along a majorly busy street!
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And perhaps most shocking of all has been the school's response to the incident. Tiffany says that when she confronted the school's principal about what happened, he blamed Haleigh!
When I spoke with the principal, she told me that it was not their responsibility, that my daughter should have known where to go. Elementary schoolers period should not be going off on their own alone.
Even children who supposedly know where they're supposed to go don't always go there. You simply can't leave that much responsibility to children that young. It's beyond outrageous that this happened, and for the school to respond with anything but heartfelt apologies and actions to make sure it doesn't happen again is outrageous.
Do you think the school is to blame here?
Image via Elizabeth/Table4Five/Flickr