A boy who attends New London Local School District's kindergarten program was reported missing after he slipped out of the crowd of "little people" last week as school was letting out for the day.
At 3:10 p.m., an elementary school secretary contacted New London Police to report the boy was missing. His mother was at the school to pick up the boy as he was reported missing, the report stated.
The boy's father located him "a short time later" walking home from the school, the report stated.
In his sixth year at the district, new Superintendent Brad Romano said this type of incident has never happened before. Romano was named to the superintendent's position earlier this year after serving as the district's high school principal.
The boy generally walks out of the kindergarten side of the building with one of his friends, but on this day, he "lost his buddy," Romano said.
"The student lost his buddy, and kinda of keeps on walking. The student got confused in the shuffle," Romano said.
In summary, Romano said "a little person got lost in a crowd of little people."
Romano said they are using the incident as an instrument to examine the dismissal process to ensure this doesn't happen again.
"Obviously, we've completely re-examined our dismissal procedure," Romano said.
The incident spurred a few changes to the procedures of the students' dismissal that Romano already considered basically "solid" with room for a few improvements.
After thoroughly examining the incident, school officials determined that their dismissal process is "not incredibly flawed," Romano said.
"It showed us the overall system is solid, but we just need to go a little further in that one area (dismissal of the younger students,)" Romano said.
First of all, communicating with the students what is expected of them at dismissal time was reinforced. Secondly, though the staff will not be literally "holding their hands," they will be taking more of "vigilant" stance on walking the students to their destination and keeping closer visual contact on each of them.
The district's all-day daily kindergarten program includes approximately 97 students and four full-time teachers with the addition of multiple aides who assist the teachers at various times throughout the day, Romano said.
"Our staff does an excellent job," he said.
As a rule, the teachers are aware of the identity of each of the student's parents and care-takers, Romano said.
"It was an isolated incident. But, it is one that we want to use to ensure is remains an isolated incident. We have about 1,000 kids in the building and generally the dismissal process is very smooth and efficient," Romano said.