Symeir Talley-Jasper, 4, walked out of the doors of his Brooklyn school and walked all the way home without one teacher or school employee noticing that he was gone, reports NBC New York.
Jasper, who attends PS 59 in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy), went to the bathroom Friday afternoon at school. When he returned, his classroom was empty.
Not knowing that his classmates were in the school’s auditorium, and not knowing what else to do, Jasper walked the block to his home with no coat in the freezing NYC weather.
The temperature was 12 degrees, with a wind chill of zero.
“I’m upset because anything could have happened,” said Symeir’s infuriated mother Quantasia Jasper. “There’s so many different possibilities. There’s all these shootings going on, robberies going on. Anyone could have ran into the school while he was running out of the school. Anything could have happened.”
Community advocates called for the employees responsible for the child to be terminated, and asked the school make procedural changes, like taking head counts of students when they are moved to different rooms.
The school’s principal, Dawn Best, sent a letter home to parents Friday stating that “additional steps have been taken to ensure the safety and welfare of the students in our school.”
Jasper’s story is particularly terrifying in the wake of the tragic death of Avonte Oquendo.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Oquendo, 14, was last seen walking out of his Long Island City school on October 4th.
The entire city of New York mobilized to search for the teen, who was autistic and unable to speak.
Last week, DNA tests confirmed that human remains found in the East River in Queens were, in fact, Avonte Oquendo.
“Something has to be done to ensure the safety of our children,” said community activist Tony Herbert to CBS New York. “This could have had a much more devastating outcome. There are a lot of scenarios that could have played out here and we are only glad that we are not planning a funeral or have another family suffering through a massive missing person search to find their child because of someone’s incompetence in not doing their job.
“This kid found his way home, thank God, Avonte Oquendo did not find his way home,” Herbert said.