Parents question Dexter dismissal policy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents question Dexter dismissal policy

Concerns tonight from some Mid-South parents expressed concern Thursday over Dexter Elementary's dismissal policy. Since school began last week, two incidents of children going missing from Dexter have taken place. In both incidents, the children were later found safe, but parents still have questions.

August 8th was Tristan Oden's first day of first grade at Dexter Elementary. His mom Shellie couldn't wait to pick him up.

"As a parent, on the first day of school, you're expecting him to walk to down the hill smiling, telling you all about his new teacher and new friends, and when he's not there?" asked Tristan's mother Shellie.

One week later, on August 15th, 5 year-old Anna Manns started kindergarten at Dexter, but couldn't be found when school got out at 3:30.

"At age 5, first day of school, man she didn't know what to do," said Tom Manns, Anna's father.

Both children got lost in Dexter's dismissal process. Tristan was classified as a "walker", but got sent out the wrong door, and instead of walking a few steps to his mom's car, he walked nearly a mile away.

"I found my six year old son wandering completely by himself," Oden said, "He had gotten 10 to 12 houses down the block."

Anna is also classified as a walker, but with one difference:

"Anna on her backpack has a sign that says Anna Manns, kindergarten, Walker Office which means what? That she's to report to the office," Manns said.

Instead getting pulled out of line to go to the office, Anna was sent with a group of children that normally walked home. Shellie Oden found the little girl on a side street near the school, all alone. Her father, a Memphis Police officer, hates to think about what might have happened.

"It doesn't take a minute to pick a kid up in a car and take off," he said.

Shelby County schools spokesman Mike Tebbe says the district is sorry for what happened, and that the school now takes a head count, making sure every child is in the correct line.

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