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BTS Scare: Kindergartener Wanders Away From School Yard

The Short of It

A 5-year-old boy wandered off from Brookdale Elementary School, in Bloomfield, New Jersey after eating his lunch on the school playground—and apparently, no one from the school noticed. He was spotted on the busy street by a good Samaritan, who took him to a nearby Friendly's and called police. 

The Lowdown 

Back-to-school time is exciting for students—especially the Kindergarten-set, who begin their whirlwind journey of reading, writing and arithmetic! But for one New Jersey boy, the first day of school was a little more exciting than it should have been. The 5-year-old somehow wandered off from the playground where he and his classmates were eating lunch around noon, despite the fact that the class was being watched by a youth aide, according to News 12 New Jersey. A woman saw the boy walking on the highly trafficked Bloomfield Avenue and brought him to the chain restaurant Friendly's, where the manager and wait staff watched over him until the police arrived. The boy was picked up by the school's Principal, Joseph Fleres, who tells Parenting.com's News Break: "We handled the situation immediately, the boy is safe and we were in contact with the parents within minutes. We installed a new gate where the child was playing. The lunch attendant has been disciplined and the superintendent was very supportive of the situation." 

The Upshot

My son enters second grade next week at a brand new school. I was the one having back-to-school jitters, because this is all new to him, but they were calmed last week during new student orientation, where I learned about all of the entryways and how they remain locked at all times. The playground is fenced and locked, too. Children are even fingerprinted and a digital system can ID them when buying lunch. What happened in this Bloomfield school was a shame—not to mention a situation that could have had a not-so-happy ending. But the school and the sincere principal have taken the steps to ensure this doesn't happen again, which is a positive start. (Another step might be having multiple aides watch young students.) And parents can play a role here, too, by discussing this story with their children—and making sure they feel safe at school and never want to wander away during the day. 

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