Local News


Father says autistic son left unsupervised at Stuckey Elementary School

CCSD confirms a police report has been filed
Posted at 11:44 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 03:09:42-04

Police are investigating after a local father says his autistic son was briefly left unsupervised at Stuckey Elementary School on Monday.

"It makes me question whether or not my child is safe when he goes to school," said dad Stephen Cole.

Cole says his 5-year-old son Gabriel was supposed to be in class when it happened. Gabriel was allegedly left behind near the school's playground as other children were filing into the building.

"My son for some reason got distracted, came out of the line, the teacher didn't notice," said Cole.

Cole says his son is extremely intelligent but he can be naive. 

"He doesn't understand the danger of cars," said Cole. "He will walk off with any stranger."

A witness tells 13 Action News Gabriel was briefly separated from all teachers and staff. The woman said she grabbed his hand and walked him into the building.

School authorities have not confirmed details but say they're looking into the incident.

There is a procedure in place to ensure the gates around the playground are locked once the bell rings, according to school officials. Additionally, we're told the staff ordinarily does a sweep to ensure no one is left behind.

There is surveillance video of the incident but it has not been released yet. 

Gabriel's mom, Tetyana Cope, says she hopes the alleged oversight never happens again.

"It pays for praying for our children," she said, "because anything can happen any moment."