East Texas First Grader Attempts To Walk Home After School - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/11/07-Tyler

East Texas First Grader Attempts To Walk Home After School

An East Texas first grader walks a mile and a half home from school before he's picked up by the sheriff's department. Now, his parents are demanding answers.  Alston Jeffus', 7 babysitter always picks him up after school, but Monday his babysitter was running late.  The babysitter says she called Ramey Elementary School saying she would not be there on time. The next thing she knew Alston had been picked up by a sheriff's deputy on East Gentry parkway in Tyler after he had tried to walk home, and then dropped Alston off at his babysitter's house.

Dismissal at Ramey Elementary School is at the same time everyday, 3:00 p.m., but Monday Alston's babysitter was running late.

"I had my son in the emergency room, and about 2:20 p.m., 2:30 p.m. I called the school and specifically told them to give his teacher a message to leave Alston in the office because I knew I would not be on time to pick him up," said Tracy Kaercher, Alston's babysitter. That message, Tracy Kaercher, Alston's babysitter says never got to Alston's teacher. Instead, Kaercher and Alston's mother says Alston was left alone outside.

"I asked him, I said what made you walk, and he said Tracy wasn't there and everybody was gone," said Jennifer Liberty, Alston's mother. Tyler ISD says it admits the school had a communication problem Monday, and even though Ramey Elementary has not had problems in the past, Alston should not have been allowed to walk home.

"Unfortunately, in this situation the child took it upon himself to leave," said Angela Jenkins, TISD Spokesperson. "He didn't notify anyone he was leaving. Now, the school does have a few walkers, so when the child left, unfortunately he was seen as a walker." The school district also says Ramey Elementary has stepped up its dismissal procedure by having extra teachers and assistants outside.  Alston's mother says the school is just fortunate nothing happened to her son while he walked a mile and half down a very busy road alone.

"You know they have already had kidnapping attempts over in this area, and someone could have picked him up, or someone could have hit him," said Liberty. "Something has to change.  I don't care what gets done. Something needs to be done." Tyler ISD says elementary teachers wait outside after school until 3:30 p.m. If all their students are still not picked up, an assistant will wait with them.  Liberty and Kaercher say they feel the teachers should be responsible for their students.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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