My name is Barb Lowe. My son, Travis Lowe, 6, attends Pangborn Elementary. On June 2nd, 2011 he was separated from his class during an outside activity and then locked out of the school. He went to the next place of security, which was home. Our home is 2.8 miles from the school. His route to reach home consisted of crossing through a congested intersection, Eastern Blvd, and a bridge with only a foot of shoulder space to walk on and some areas with no shoulder space, which meant Travis was walking with traffic on the road. The speed on this road is 30 miles per hr then increases to 40 miles per hr. Travis had enough time to walk home, 2.8 miles, and for me to take him back to the school; and yet myself, his father, nor the police were notified.
The principal, Mrs. Semler, was in a conference meeting at the time of the incident. Mrs. Talbert-Smith, the assistant principal, was next in line for running the school. Travis was missing for over an hour and neither the police or the parents were ever notified. From 11:05 to 11:45 his teacher, Ms .Davis, did not even realize Travis was not with her. Travis was seen leaving the premises at 11:16 via camera footage from the Board of Education. Travis arrived at our home at 12:09. I immediately loaded him in the car and headed for the school to demand an explanation as to why I was not notified. There was none. We arrived at the school at 12:13.
Mrs. Semler and Ms. Davis have been removed form the school. Mrs. Talbert-Smith still remains. I am writing to appeal the disciplinary actions regarding Mrs. Talbert-Smith. Mrs.Talbert-Smith went to Travis' 9 year old brother, to ask if he remembered what Travis was wearing. She should have asked the first grade teacher or phoned his parents. She was aware of Travis' disappearance for 25 minutes & never phoned authorities or parents. When I showed up with Travis at the school, she went back to Isaac to tell him, "Travis walked home without permission". She didn't tell him he was found or that he was safe. I believe her removal from Pangborn Elementary is a necessity for the safety of the children who attend there. The lack of authority she displayed is completely unacceptable. This is a position she should not possess again. Putting one child in danger is one child too many. Not only should she be removed from Pangborn, but she should not be placed in any position having authority over the safety and well being of children.
A School's main mission is about what is in the best interest of children yet there is NO procedure to follow if there is a student missing. I understand there is a tentative protocol developed for students who have gone astray or missing, due to this incident. However, the WCBOE is not placing it in the hands of parents/guardians. There is adequate time for this to be placed in the 2011-2012 school/parent handbook. It should be in the hands of not only principals, asst. principals, and administrative personnel; but also parents, guardians, and students. It should be accessible to all involved in the school setting. The parents/guardians have a right to know what actions the school personnel will take in such a situation. The actions of this protocol should be implemented, by way of training, to all school personnel and not just a paper to be read.
I thought my 6 year old son was safe in school. He was not. He was walking on dangerous crossings and roadways. My story ended in a happy way. It shouldn’t take a fatal casualty to get people's attention. Please prevent this from happening again by signing this petition.