4-year-old leaves after-school program, walks home alone from DC elementary school

A D.C. mother is frustrated and looking for answers after her 4-year-old daughter left an after-school program and walked home by herself from Hendley Elementary School.

The mother, Cierra, says her son and daughter attend an after-care program at Hendley Elementary School and was shocked to learn her daughter managed to leave the program unnoticed and walk home alone. The mother says she called the after-school program coordinator to inform staff she would be picking up her kids at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 22. When she arrived, the staff went and got her son, but she waited 15–20 minutes for her daughter. 

While waiting, the mother received a call from her husband asking how their 4-year-old daughter got home by herself. Her daughter had to cross two streets and alleys alone in order to get home.


According to Cierra, several children were left in the cafeteria of the elementary school and her daughter somehow left using the back door. The mother has an upcoming meeting with the after-care program coordinator but is calling for the staff to be fired.

Cierra told FOX 5 that she was "livid" when she found out what happened. 

"I'm afraid for my daughter to go back to the after-care at school. I don't know what to do, like she don't want to go to school," she said. "I probably have to take her to therapy to get through this pain." 

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Read the full statement from Demetrius Lucas, Principal, Hendley Elementary School on this incident below: 

Dear Hendley Elementary School Families,

At Hendley, we are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all students. Communicating home about incidents that arise during the day is critical to maintaining strong partnerships with families. (On Monday evening, January 22, during after-school, one of our PreK students left schoo! through a door at the back of our building's cafeteria and walked home. While the student was not harmed and arrived to their home safely, we take supervision very seriously. In accordance with DC Public Schools (DCPS) Incident and Emergency Response protocols, this incident has been reported to the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Child and Family Services Agency and is currently under investigation. We are reviewing what happened to ensure the appropriate personnel response as we evaluate and update our afterschool monitoring procedures to prevent reoccurrence.‘This is a deeply concerning incident, and | sincerely regret that it occurred. | have been in touch with the student's family to apologize on behalf of Hendley. We will also continue to offer support to the student and family from the district and our wellness team—school psychologist, Dr. Kengle, and our social workers, Ms. Craig and Ms. AnsanStudent safety is paramount. If you have any questions, please call the school office at (202) 645-3450 or email me at demetrius lucas@k12.dc.qov. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely, Demetrius Lucas Principal, Hendley Elementary School