The mother of a 5-year-old boy who walked off school campus Wednesday without anyone noticing is speaking out.
She says Waianae Elementary School made a big mistake and she wants someone to take responsibility.
Crystal Dejesus called the school Wednesday, wanting to pick up her two sons early. The state Department of Education says the children were supposed to wait in the main office, but the 5-year-old mistakenly thought he was supposed to walk home.
He was found about a half-hour later a mile away from campus.
Dejesus says the school did not contact her about her missing son. Instead, she heard the news from her other child who went to the school office.
She went to the school asking about her son, Randy. “From there, I went to his class and teacher said that he walked home,” she told KHON2.
Dejesus says her two younger children never walk home from school. So she called her family and started searching the area by car and foot.
“What was going through your mind?” KHON2 asked.
“I would never see him again,” she replied. “I’m going to come home and miss one child. I have four kids. Just losing one, everything just crashes down.”
Randy was eventually found near Ala Walua Street, about a mile away from school.
“My kid could have died,” Dejesus said. “He could have got stolen. He could have got banged.”
Good Samaritans who live on that street found him and brought the boy to safety.
They tell us another community member found the boy on the opposite side of Farrington Highway, which means sometime during his journey, he crossed the busy street by himself
“My sister tried to talk to him and ask him his name, trying to get information out of him, but he was so flustered and shaken up,” said Ashley Olivar.
Olivar told KHON2 she and her sister fed the boy and brought him to their home. They called police and the school, and Olivar posted a notice on Facebook. She says a family member saw her post and contacted her.
“The whole time the school was here, they were saying, ‘Oh, the mother is on her way,’ but when I called her, which was like 20 minutes after they came, she didn’t even know,” Olivar said. “She didn’t know anything.”
Dejesus says in the past there has been miscommunication between her and the school, so we called the school to get clarification.
We returned to Waianae Elementary to get answers for Randy’s family, but no one from the school would talk. We also contacted the DOE, but was told no one was available.
In an email, a spokesman said: “The incident, along with all of these questions, is being investigated by the school complex area. The investigation is still in-progress, so we cannot provide these specific details at this time.”
He said Dejesus arrived on campus as the initial search was underway and immediately made aware of the situation by the school’s principal.
“Procedures are being reviewed now,” he added. “Options are still under review and have not been implemented.”
“What do you want to see changed?” KHON2 asked Dejesus.
“The staff needs to pay more attention to the children,” she said.