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Special Needs Child Walks Out Of School, Staff Had No Idea

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) When Kristeena Chace’s 9- year old special needs son, Christian, walked away from his Fort Lauderdale elementary school on Tuesday, she was shocked when she found out and very scared, thinking of  him walking 13 blocks home all alone.

“He was able to gather his items, walk out those doors. He saw a gentleman that was wearing an orange jacket and even though I taught my son stranger danger, he said hello to this guy,” said Chace with tears in her eyes. “I thank God the guy didn’t take him. I thank God.”

Christian has Asperger syndrome characteristics and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Chace said she didn’t find out he left school until 30 minutes later when he got home, surprising his grandmother.

What shocked Chace is that no one in North Andrews Gardens Elementary School had any idea he was missing until she showed up an hour later and told them.

“If the tables were turned and I lost my child or I displaced my child for an hour, how would society view me?  How would you look at me? Yet when you look at the school, the school gets no ramifications,” said Chace.

Another parent said children should know better than to wander off.

“I would be angry at my child. I would because I taught my child not to leave campus,” said parent Tracy Hildebrandt.

Chace said she realizes her son made a bad choice but she thinks, there should be better supervision. She figures a simple head count would have solved the problem.

“You mean to tell me taking 10 seconds to count 18 heads in the class and realize you’re missing one is too much effort?  That’s what didn’t happen,” said Chace.

Surveillance video showed Christian walking off alone, but Chace said she was told no one was monitoring the cameras.

The school district released a statement saying, “At all times, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of students is paramount. A complete review and investigation into the incident by district and school staff is underway.”

Chace wants answers, but is at least grateful her son made it home safely.

“The reality of it is, we could be having this interview looking for my son still and he’s not home.  So again, what’s it going to take,” asked Chace while crying.

Christian’s mom said she is doing all this not to get someone in trouble. She said that her main goal is to make sure that something like that never happens again, with a tragic result.

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