Xenia substitute oversaw class where kindergartner strayed

Xenia Community Schools officials are investigating how a kindergarten student was able to stray away from McKinley Elementary unnoticed for 45 minutes on Tuesday.

The 6-year-old girl was found in a residential backyard a few blocks away from the school on Colorado Drive, according to police.

Xenia police responded to Gayhart Drive around 2:13 p.m. after a woman reported an unattended child was in her backyard, according to a incident report.

“I thought this is really messed up,” said the mother of the child who declined to be identified. “This is my daughter’s life. Anything could’ve happened to her.”

The child’s mother said she is angry and was concerned nobody at the school notified her about her daughter’s disappearance.

“I trusted and believed in a public school to watch my daughter and teach my daughter her education,” she said. “Meanwhile they’re losing my daughter.”

An officer took the girl back to McKinley and confirmed she attended the school.

McKinley Elementary Principal Garry Hawes told police a substitute teacher oversaw the child’s class that day, according to a police incident report.

“He evidently did not know how many children should be in class today,” wrote Officer Robert Stouffer in the incident report.

The child went to recess at 1:30 p.m., but did not return.

“It is not known how she was not reported missing after recess,” Stouffer wrote. “She told me she wanted to go home, so she walked off.”

Criminal charges will not be filed, according to police.

“It’s basically being handled by the school, so we really don’t have any further involvement,” said Capt. Scott Anger of the Xenia Police Division.

On Wednesda,y school officials said they were unsure how long the child was unaccounted for, and if a staff member is found to be at-fault there will be discipline, said Xenia Community Schools Superintendent Denny Morrison.

“The safety of our students is paramount,” he said.

About 400 students attend the elementary school and there are 50 to 51 staff members, said Mike Earley, the Xenia Community Schools personnel director.

The school district declined to say if any new safety protocols were implemented as a result of the incident.

“I can’t really get into that right now,” said Mike Earley, the Xenia Community Schools personnel director.

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