A 4-year-old walks home alone from DC elementary school, departing the after-school program

A concerned mother in Washington D.C. is feeling frustrated and seeking answers after her 4-year-old daughter managed to leave an after-school program and walk home alone from Hendley Elementary School.

Cierra, the mother, was taken aback when she found out that her son and daughter, who were attending an after-care program at Hendley Elementary School, had an unexpected incident. Her daughter had managed to leave the program without anyone noticing and walked home alone. Prior to this, Cierra had called the after-school program coordinator to let them know that she would be picking up her children at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 22. When she arrived, her son was promptly brought to her, but she had to wait for about 15-20 minutes for her daughter.

As the mother waited, she received a call from her husband, who was curious about how their 4-year-old daughter managed to make it home on her own. It turned out that their daughter had bravely crossed two streets and alleys all by herself to reach home.

Cierra reported that there were a number of children who were left unsupervised in the cafeteria at the elementary school. Astonishingly, her own daughter managed to slip away through the back door. While Cierra is scheduled to meet with the after-care program coordinator, she is demanding that the responsible staff members be terminated from their positions.

Cierra expressed her anger and frustration when she discovered what had occurred.


“I’m filled with fear at the thought of sending my daughter back to the after-care program at school. It’s a situation that has left me feeling helpless, as she herself doesn’t want to attend school,” she expressed. “Perhaps I’ll have to consider taking her to therapy in order to help her navigate through this emotional distress.”

Here is the full statement from Demetrius Lucas, Principal of Hendley Elementary School, regarding this incident:

Dear Hendley Elementary School Families,

At Hendley, we are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all students. Communicating home about incidents that arise during the day is critical to maintaining strong partnerships with families. (On Monday evening, January 22, during after-school, one of our PreK students left schoo! through a door at the back of our building’s cafeteria and walked home. While the student was not harmed and arrived to their home safely, we take supervision very seriously. In accordance with DC Public Schools (DCPS) Incident and Emergency Response protocols, this incident has been reported to the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Child and Family Services Agency and is currently under investigation. We are reviewing what happened to ensure the appropriate personnel response as we evaluate and update our afterschool monitoring procedures to prevent reoccurrence.‘This is a deeply concerning incident, and | sincerely regret that it occurred. | have been in touch with the student’s family to apologize on behalf of Hendley. We will also continue to offer support to the student and family from the district and our wellness team—school psychologist, Dr. Kengle, and our social workers, Ms. Craig and Ms. AnsanStudent safety is paramount. If you have any questions, please call the school office at (202) 645-3450 or email me at demetrius lucas@k12.dc.qov. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely, Demetrius Lucas Principal, Hendley Elementary School

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