Father wants answers after autistic son wanders away from school - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Father wants answers after autistic son wanders away from school

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A Paradise Hills father is demanding answers after his 7-year-old autistic son went missing from school.

Travontay Jones says his son wasn't in the classroom when he went to pick him up from Penn Elementary School on Thursday. The boy was eventually found nearby, running in and out of traffic.

Deshaun is like most kids. He loves his video games, drawing, and learning.

"He's a very bright student. Deshaun is a quick learner, as long as you show it to him, Deshaun can do it over and over and over, no problem," Travontay said.

But Deshaun's father says he needs a little extra attention because he also deals with autism. So you can imagine the scare he had when he went to pick him up at school yesterday at Penn Elementary in Paradise Hills.

"I walk in the classroom, he's not in there. I ask (a staff member), 'Where's Deshaun?' She says oh he ran off. I was like what do you mean he ran off? You didn't attempt to chase him? She just looks at me," Travontay said.

He says soon, everyone was searching for him. They looked in classrooms, bathrooms -- nothing until school police stepped in.

"They call and they searched the neighborhood, and about an hour and 15 minutes later they said my son was down the street and a neighbor grabbed him because he was running in and out of traffic," he said.

Travontay says this is the answer he got when he questioned his son's teacher: "Oh he ran out and I couldn't go out because I had three other students in the classroom."

"My mother-in-law goes to the school the next morning and they tell her they're trying to put the blame off on my son. That's not right. He's 7 years old with autism, how does he know right from wrong?" Travontay said.

Deshaun's parents would like to see him have a one-on-one, aide but don't think that's going to happen.

"It's very frustrating knowing that you can't even send your son to school without worrying what's going on with him," Travontay said.

He says they picked Penn because of their programs for kids with disabilities. Now, they're not sure if they'll send him back.

"That's my son, that's my heart. I don't know what I'd do without my son. Words can't even describe it," he said.

The San Diego Unified School District released the following statement:

"First, we offer our deepest apologies to the family for the circumstances which allowed the little boy to get out of his classroom yesterday.

We can confirm that, prior to dismissal, the student was able to get past his teacher and an aide and out of the classroom. Someone reported seeing him run to another area on campus where it was known he liked to spend time. (This is why we initially believed the boy was still on campus.) The principal and the dad looked for him in these areas. When he wasn't found, the principal then called school police. At about the same time the call was made to our school police dispatch, one of our officers – who happened to be in the area on an unrelated matter – saw two women who were holding a student. The officer recognized the student as the one reported missing, and took him back to school and released him to his dad.

The school is reviewing the incident very closely and looking at what changes may need to be made to the student's support plan to ensure this never happens again.

School lets out at 2:40 p.m. The student was picked up by our officer at 3:03 p.m., so about 20 minutes."

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