An angry mother and father in a suburb of Sacramento are suing the Natomas Unified School District after their emotionally distraught seven-year-old daughter was left completely unattended and went wandering around town all by herself in the middle of a Wednesday school day.
The incident began to unfold around 9 a.m. on Dec. 18 at Jefferson Elementary School in Natomas, Calif, reports KTXL
Jason Dillard said his second-grade daughter, Samaya, had spilled some water in class. The teacher, Lupe Rodriguez, was frustrated about it. In response, Dillard said, Rodriguez dragged the seven-year-old girl out of class as she was sitting in her chair.
The lawsuit describes Rodriguez’s behavior as “a fit of frightening rage,” notes The Sacramento Bee.
Rodriguez allegedly left the girl outside the class for quite awhile until she eventually wandered down the hall, out the door and off school grounds.
“When I finally got the call from the school, it was 11:30,” said Dillard. “So when I get to the school and I say, ‘When was the last time you saw my child,’ and they say, ‘9:30,’ I’m thinking, ‘Okay, this girl might not ever come back.'”
Meanwhile, Samaya had quite an adventure. She moseyed down a busy road. She traipsed over an interstate overpass at one point, crossing freeway entrance and exit ramps. She then kept walking, for about two miles altogether.
She stopped into a Walmart. She eventually ambled into an On the Border fast-casual restaurant and asked for a cup of water. Employees at On the Border contacted police and asked for an officer to come to the restaurant to make sure the girl was okay. The police refused, apparently believing that a seven-year-old girl walking around with no adult supervision in the middle of a school day is nothing to be alarmed about.
Video footage from both the Walmart and the On the Border restaurant shows that she was there.
The second grader then turned around and wandered back the way she came.
The girl’s likely frantic father was the one who found her. She was walking around the family’s neighborhood.
Samaya’s mother, Damia Dillard, said the event was traumatizing for her daughter.
“She said that she felt like nobody loved her, nobody cared about her,” the mom said, fighting back tears.
School district officials have been basically mum about the lawsuit. “We cannot comment on the claim’s allegations or the parties involved because it is a pending legal matter, and because it involves a minor and a personnel issue,” the district’s statement reads. The statement adds that the district’s employees “care deeply about all children in Natomas” and are unified “firmly committed to” safety.
Samaya had previously attended a charter school before transferring into the public school system because Jefferson Elementary is closer to their home.
The Dillards say they now regret that decision, to say the least.
Samaya has since changed schools.