Pre-K Student Found Walking Alone on a Busy Road in Kalamazoo
An investigation is underway to determine how a 4 year old child, who was thought to be in class, ended up walking down a busy road alone.
The incident, reported by Mlive.com, happened earlier this week in Kalamazoo. Jasir Allen, who is 4 years old, was spotted walking down East Main Street near Hazard Avenue around 11 AM. Thankfully, someone found the situation to be suspicious, turned their car around, and stayed with Jasir until police arrived.
How did this happen?
Even as a childless woman my first thought is one of anger. HOW could this possibly be allowed to happen? The answer is usually not straightforward but this...this just sounds like an all around failure.
Jasir Allen, like so many other students, takes the bus to school. His mother, Evelese Dean, works a third shift and was resting when she received a phone call from Stephanie Allen, Jasir grandmother, informing her of what happened. He was safe with police, thank goodness. However, what was missing was any sort of notification or contact from his preschool, Pre K International Childcare Center.
According to Mlive.com, Dean went straight to the preschool to confront the fact that apparently no one noticed that her son, who arrives on the bus and is normally in class by 8:30am, was missing.
As someone who always wants to believe the best, I thought, "Well maybe they assumed he had just stayed home for the day." After all, I don't know the school's attendance policy or if they need to be notified when a student will be absent from school. However, that thought was completely wrong.
Upon arriving, Dean was told that her son was in his classroom and that he had been seen going into the class that morning. Seemingly, they were completely unaware that he had somehow gotten away from the preschool and was found walking down a busy road.
At this point, it's assumed that Jasir may have fallen asleep on the bus and went unnoticed when the driver parked the bus and left it for the day. That means that a 4 year old child had to wake up alone on an empty bus, find a way off the bus, and try to find his way home or to somewhere familiar. At age 4. That's, for lack of a better term, unacceptable.
What happens now?
As I stated earlier, an investigation is underway by The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. I am curious what the investigation will find considering that in January of 2020 a plan was put into place to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. Bus drivers are supposed to count children as they enter and leave the bus and are supposed to perform a full walk through of the bus to make sure no students remain.
Clearly, there was a failure somewhere in the system and it needs to be addressed immediately.
In an interview with Mlive.com, Evelese Dean said,
I’m grateful for the people who found him,” Dean said. “There’s not a lot of nice people in the world. Someone else could have found my son and there’s a possibility I never could have seen him again.
The preschool, Pre K International Childcare Center, has yet to make any comment.