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Mom angry with school after child leaves alone

5-year-old girl almost made it off school property at lunchtime Monday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville mother is furious with her daughter's school after she said the 5-year-old girl walked out of Crown Point Elementary around lunchtime Monday and almost made it off school property alone.

"It's scary because she could have been hit by a car. She could have fallen and hurt herself," said Amanda Trusler.

Those are just a couple of the scenarios running through Trusler's mind when it comes to her daughter, Ava, nearly making it off school property by herself. Trusler said her husband went to pick Ava up from school early and found her by herself.

"She could have been abducted by a crazy person," Trusler said. "There's a million things -- she could have been bitten by a stray dog. There's all of these things that could have happened to my child. All the while that this is happening, they think that she's in class."

Trusler said earlier in the day, she had called the school to let them know Ava would be signing out of school early. She requested that Ava be at the front office ready to go. Trusler said at some point, there was a breakdown in communication and somehow Ava (pictured) simply walked away. 

"A 5-year-old got out of class, walked down the hallway, passed the office that has window in it and walked right out of the front door without a single person noticing her," Trusler said.

Trusler said despite her daughter being cold and a little scared because she was alone, she is doing OK. Trusler hopes speaking out will prompt change and make parents aware that things like this can happen.

Duval County Public Schools issued a statement in response to the incident:

"Crown Point Elementary protocol requires that students who are checked out of school early by a parent or guardian wait in their classrooms until a parent/guardian (with verified identification) has arrived to the school's main office. At that point, the teacher is called via intercom to send the student to the main office. In this incident, the parent requested that we expedite the checkout process to accommodate an imminent family emergency. As a result, the student's teacher was called and directed to send the student to the office. The student left the classroom and instead of stopping at the main office as directed, the student walked out the front door and was picked up at the campus entrance by her father.

This incident is one that we take very seriously, prompting us to take a closer look at how we can increase communications with parents and strengthen our protocols and practices to ensure that this does not occur again." 

But Trusler told News4Jax there was no "imminent family emergency." Because of scheduling conflicts for after-school pickup, Ava's father just needed to pick her up on his lunch hour.


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