Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, February 10, 2014

5 Year Old Student Leaves Charter School Unattended

The Daily News:

In a case reminiscent of the tragic death of autistic teen Avonte Oquendo — who disappeared from school months before his body was found in Queens — a 5-year-old disabled boy managed to slip out of his Brooklyn charter school and walked more than a half mile home with a stranger, the Daily News has learned.

Malachi Nelson, whose cerebral palsy causes him to drag his right foot, was unharmed. But his outraged mother is demanding answers from Lefferts Gardens Charter School.

Malachi usually waits in his fourth-floor classroom for the bus matron, but on this day, his teacher had instructed the boy to go look for her. Wearing his coat but leaving his Skylanders backpack behind, Malachi went downstairs and pushed open a side door that locked behind him. He didn’t see the bus matron and started to cry.

An unidentified man in his 20s with dreadlocks asked Malachi where he lived. “I want to go home, my mom is worried about me,” the innocent child told the man, according to DeVore-Nelson.
The man told Malachi to be a big boy and stop crying. He offered him a piece of candy, but Malachi declined. Malachi did not know his home address but could point the way. They walked through the streets until they reached Malachi’s building on Maple St., where the man rang a neighbor’s buzzer and left the boy to explain the odyssey.

School Principal Michael Windram and cops arrived at the building and questioned the boy to determine whether a crime was committed.

“Leaving a child unattended in school to wander around on his own is unacceptable and should not be happening in our public school system,” family lawyers Sanford Rubenstein and Scott Rynecki said in a statement. “What happened to Avonte Oquendo must never happened to another child in this city.”

Fortunately the unidentified man who found Malachi wandering brought the little boy back to a neighbor unharmed.

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