***UPDATED at 5:09 P.M. on Monday, March 25th***
Two boys are now home safely after walking away from Glenn Hills Elementary School. Now, a mother of one of the boys is speaking out. She says the school was negligent.
“How can you let a little kid, a 4th grader, just walk up out of the school, it's ridiculous,” says Mary Ellen Allen, who spent Monday morning and part of the afternoon…playing out worst case scenarios.
“You don't want to think that stuff, you want to know that they went to school, they stayed at school, and they're safe and they got the education…which is what they're supposed to be going to school to do,” Allen says.
Allen's 10-year-old son, Mahkyah Ochoa, and one of his friends both walked away from Glenn Hills Elementary School Monday morning after being dropped off by the bus. Mahkyah has autism and ADHD. His mother says there wasn't enough supervision.
“I have never in my life dealt with anything like this in any school district this is pathetic and it's sad,” Allen says.
We brought her concerns to Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson:
First question: When did the Richmond County Board of Education call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office to get involved? “Probably about 30 minutes or so after they discovered the students had left the campus,” said Roberson.
However, according to Lieutenant Calvin Chew, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office never got a call from the Richmond County Board of Education (BOE) Police. Lt. Chew says deputies did respond to the scene, but that's because Allen called them. Lt. Chew adds, when deputies got there, the BOE police officers turned the deputies away.
Next question for Dr. Roberson: Do you feel that proper procedure was followed in this case? “Most definitely…very responsive from the moments the students were spotted,” he answers.
We also asked Dr. Roberson why more supervision was not paid attention to Ochoa…considering his mother says this is not the first time this has happened. “Nothing of this nature had happened at the school before, regarding these particular students,” he said.
But, according to Allen, officers recently found her son at the Wal-Mart across the street after not getting on the bus. She says something needs to change, not just for her child, but for all children in Richmond County. “When will there be different policies put in place? When is it going to happen? What is it going to take? Is it going to take somebody's child being found dead?” she asks.
Dr. Roberson says they will use this incident to see if any policy changes are needed for the school system.
***UPDATED at 1:33 P.M. on Monday, March 25th***
WJBF News Channel 6 has learned two missing Richmond County students have been located in a wooded and were found to be unharmed.
***POSTED at 1:00 P.M. on Monday, March 25th***
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is looking in nearby woods for a missing 10-year-old Glenn Hills Elementary school student, Mahkyah Ochoa.
WJBF News Channel 6 has confirmed that Mahkyah got off the bus at the school, but when his teacher took attendance, he was unaccounted for.
Mahkyah is described as being 4'3″ tall. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and black, red and white Air Jordan shoes.
Our Barclay Bishop spoke with the boy's mother and she says that he has a mental disability and that this has happened once before. That time, he was found at a nearby Wal-Mart.
The search is currently underway with the help of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and the public safety officers with the Richmond County Board of Education.
If you have seen this child, please call 911 or the Richmond county Sheriff's Office at 706-821-1080.