Mother: 5-year-old walked home alone; locked out of school

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A 5-year-old girl walked home alone after being locked out of her school on Monday.

Faith Alexander received a call from Grahamwood Elementary on Monday because her daughter, India, was sick. When her grandmother showed up at the school to pick her up, India was nowhere to be found.

"They are paging the classroom and they are not sending India out, so I call, 'You did get India?' and she said, 'No, we'll have them send somebody around there. Maybe she's in the bathroom throwing up again," Faith recalled.

A few minutes later, a neighbor called Faith to tell her India had walked home.

"I'm about to have a heart attack. I was at work, so I went into the bathroom, I burst out crying," Faith said.

The Alexanders' house is about a half mile away from the school, which is on Summer Avenue. To get home, India had to cross a four-way stop at North Graham Street and Tutwiler Avenue.

"I didn't have anywhere else I could go," India said.

Faith found out India had gone out a side door and when she couldn't get back inside the school, she decided to walk home.

"She should have never been sent from that office back to her classroom," Faith said. "That's a health and safety issue and the teacher should have never sent her from the classroom to the office by herself."

India's mother wants new protocols put into place so this doesn't happen again.

"There are good people in the world and bad people in the world that can potentially hurt kids and she should never go anywhere alone without an adult," Faith explained.

Shelby County Schools responded to WMC5's Kendall Kirkham with the following statement:

"While a relative was waiting to check out a student, the child exited a door and left the building instead of going to the office. Fortunately, the child was quickly located. The safety of students is our top priority, and the school is reviewing internal processes and taking immediate steps to ensure this does not happen again."

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