School district responds after Murray Middle School special needs student found wandering
MURRAY, KY — When you drop your kid off at school, you expect them to be there at the end of the day.
“I go to Murray (Middle). It’s hard to get in there. You would think it would be hard to get out,” said Damien Pollion. His child goes to Murray Middle School.
He happened to be driving nearby on Poplar Street last Tuesday. “I was just at the right place at the right time,” Pollion said. “Cars were just passing by and almost ran him over. That’s when I stopped and got out of the vehicle.”
A Murray Middle School special needs student was wandering the streets with no shoes and no coat on during a day where the high temperature was 39 degrees.
Jakese Roberson was with Pollion in the car when they saw the boy. “He was kind of just talking to himself in his own world. We kind of knew something was off. We knew we had to stop,” Roberson said.
The boy didn’t get far from school. Murray Middle is right across the street from the hospital where Roberson and Pollion took the boy for help. They said they asked someone in the clinic to call police, but no one did.
“We were very scared for him. That’s why we stayed around until help actually came for him,” Roberson said. So, he recorded video for proof. We have blurred the child’s face and cut out the audio where an adult identifies the student by name. The boy is a minor, and so we will not be showing his identity.
You can hear someone in the video ask the boy, “You ready to go back to school?”
“The fact that nobody notified the police and how it all kind of happened, I just felt like his parents would maybe never find out that it happened,” Roberson worried. He didn’t want it to be swept under the rug.
Murray Independent Superintendent Coy Samons said the boy was gone for less than five minutes before staff began looking for him. Samons wouldn’t sit down with us for an interview, but the spokeswoman for the school district sent a statement.
“On Tuesday, December 04, 2018, a special needs student was able to leave the classroom and Murray Middle School Campus undetected. In less than five minutes, the teacher and staff began to search for student. The student was unaccounted for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. To our understanding, less than a block from the school campus, an individual found the student and escorted the child to a local hospital facility. The teacher and Safety Resource Officer ( SRO) returned the child to school grounds.
The school’s response was immediate and contacted the family within minutes. A meeting between the parents and school officials was held to discuss the situation, and future plans to insure the child’s safety. The school and district staff will continue to examine school safety procedures and areas that may need improvement. Student safety is a top priority of the Murray Independent School District.”
The boy’s family contacted me through their attorney, Chip Adams. Adams said the family thanks Roberson and Pollion for helping their son. Adams said the family is pleased with how the school responded.
“We could’ve left five minutes earlier or later, and this would’ve never happened,” Roberson said. “We were put in this place at this time for a reason.”
We are looking into what the protocol is for when a student goes missing. The spokeswoman for the school district, Sherry Purdom, said the safety resource officer is required to create a report for the parents, but she doesn’t know if a police report was filed.
Purdom said she is not aware of any other incidents like this happening in the district. We are checking with the state on that.