Furious mom says son, 5, found wandering after being sent home from school alone

Joey Hoffman (Photo: WFTV)
Joey Hoffman (Photo: WFTV)

A Florida woman is upset that her 5-year-old son was sent walking home by himself on the third day of school, WFTV reports.

“I’m furious,” Sara Tavares said. “I mean, I’m so — I’m still shaking about it.”

Her son, Joey Hoffman, was found by a school resource officer about a mile from the school. The boy had been wandering for 45 minutes.

Joey told the news station he was surprised to see the officer.

“The cop found me,” he said. “I thought I was going to jail.”

His grandmother, Larianne Warner, was waiting to walk him home at Winter Garden’s SunRidge Elementary School.

“That would be the third time I would have picked him up in front of the office,” she said. “That was our designated spot.”

“(I felt) sheer panic and terror. (I was) scared to death. No one knew where he was. No one had a clue,” she said to WFTV. “Anything could have happened. Come on now. (For) an hour he’s been walking around Tildenville looking for our house.”

The school says the problem was one of communication. For some reason, young Joey was listed as a child who walks home on his own and was sent out another door with the other walkers.

Orange County Public Schools said there was a breakdown in communication, but the family says they have a clear plan that was communicated to the school.

An spokeswoman for the schools told WFTV that “the incident serves as a reminder for all parents to have clear communication with their children and teachers about what should happen before and after school.”

With school only just back in session for the year, it’s probably safe to assume to school and parents will work out any issues to prevent incidents like this from happening again.

We reached out to SunRidge Elementary and will update this story if we hear back.

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