JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Clay County mom experienced a terrifying moment on Friday when she said she went to pick up her 4-year-old daughter from school and the child was nowhere to be found.
On Tuesday, Dariel Stockman said she is so grateful that her daughter is now safe after being found a few miles from Argyle Elementary by a good Samaritan hours after leaving the campus.
Now, some school employees are on leave while an investigation into the incident is underway.
Stockman said a teacher at the school sent her daughter out with the wrong dismissal group so she was walking around a neighborhood for hours in the heat.
“I felt like I couldn’t breathe and me and my husband were yelling and screaming. We kept asking them ‘How could y’all let this happen? How could you lose a 4-year-old?’ She’s a baby, this is the second day of school. She doesn’t know her way yet,” Stockman said.
At dismissal, Stockman said her daughter was sent out with the students who walk home but she was supposed to be in the line for parent pick-up.
“As I’m driving through the line, there are teachers with walkie-talkies that come up as the children are being picked up. I told them her name and just kept going through the line and she never came out. Other children are coming out and she’s not coming out yet,” she said.
Frantic, Stockman got out of her car and went inside the school.
“I saw her kindergarten teacher, and she was at the table with other kids and I asked her, I said, ‘[teacher], where’s my daughter? She’s supposed to...you’re supposed to bring her out here.’ And she said, ‘I don’t know. But I can assure you that she was in line with me. She walked here to the cafeteria. She’s in here somewhere,’” Stockman said.
Stockman then began running around the school yelling her daughter’s name. That’s when other faculty members and the school resource officer got involved.
“I called my husband. He came, rushed up to the school to help look for our daughter,” she said. “He’s running around neighborhoods. I never saw her on the video with her teacher. She was not in that line.”
Stockman along with school employees and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office continued to look for her daughter. A few hours later, she was found miles away from the school by a good Samaritan.
“She was by herself for a long time. There were ponds, it was cars, and anything could have happened. She could get hit by a car. I cannot believe it. I cannot believe that she had gotten that far away from school with no help, because the teacher led her out to go walk with the walkers,” Stockman said.
The Clay County School District released a statement about the incident.
The District is aware of the incident that occurred Friday, August 11th, during dismissal. Clay County District Schools takes the safety of all children as our top priority, and as a result of this incident, District leadership is working with the school on reviewing their safe dismissal protocols and procedures. Human resources started the investigation and the employees involved have been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.Clay County School District Spokesperson
“I would advise [parents] to put some kind of location device on their children and even some kind of phone even if it’s just a cellphone, I can just call for help,” Stockman said. “I would also advise them to write your information on their backpacks or anything that you could find so they can call you. They can’t memorize a number yet. If you can get them to memorize your information or address, you know, that will help too.”
Stockman said the two teachers involved have not apologized.