Noel Carthen reads the text message she received about her daughter.
SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento mother is questioning how her little girl could have just wandered off school campus without anyone noticing.
Noel Carthen said her daughter Nadilynn was supposed to have been escorted to an afterschool program right after school ended, but that's not what happened. She said Nadilynn was alone for 45 minutes after school Wednesday and nobody knew the first grader was even missing. Nadilynn was found, crying, alone and off campus, according to Noel.
Carthen never knew her daughter was missing until she got a call from staff at Prairie Elementary School of Elk Grove Unified School District saying someone found Nadilynn on Valley High Drive. She only later learned Nadilynn was found a few feet from the entrance of the school.
"I don't know where the system failed, but some way, a 6-year-old girl got off what was supposed to be a locked campus," Carthen said.
Noel said her daughter got out of class at 2:15 p.m. Per school policy, Nadilynn was supposed to be escorted to her afterschool Fast Track program on campus. Nadilynn apparently got upset because a classmate had pinched her and she walked out the gates, Carthen said. She eventually walked a few hundred more feet off campus.
"She says she was looking for me," Carthen explained.
Carthen said a Good Samaritan spotted the crying girl and then brought her back to the school office.
"I'm just shocked, grateful she's ok," Carthen said.
Carthen received a letter from school staff and administrators soon after the incident apologizing.
"The letter says, 'Ms. Carthen: I am so sorry about the incidents at Prairie today. I am relieved that Nadilynn was returned to school safely.'"
Carthen is glad she got a quick response from the school. She realizes her daughter wasn't supposed to walk off campus, but said it should never have been allowed to happen.
"I know she wander off. But I feel like lots of kids could have wandered off. And in the end there has to be checks and balances," Carthen said. "These kids are going to where they have go, not freely walking around a neighborhood."
News10 got word of this story after school district offices were closed Wednesday. Calls to the Elk Grove Unified School District for comment were not returned before this article was posted.
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org