Some changes are in the works at an Orange County Elementary School after a child wound up off campus after a wrong turn trying to get back to class.
“At about 10:15 we got a call from the school saying Carmela had gone missing,” said Richard Bonadonna. That’s not the call that the father of a 5 year old wants to receive, especially less than two months after his daughter started kindergarten at Princeton Elementary School. Bonadonna says he rushed to campus. “All they knew is that she left the school and that a neighbor in the area returned her back to the school sometime later,” said Bonadonna.
After being dropped off at school early, Bonadonna says his daughter Carmela put her backpack down in the hallway outside her classroom. He says she was then escorted to the cafeteria by a 5th grader. That’s where Bonadonna says things get fuzzy.
"When the bell rang she told us she got up and went to go to class. When she went out the hall the door opened and shut behind her. She realized she was outside. She was alone she was on the corner of Princeton and Helen Avenue. She told us that she began pounding on the door to get back in and screaming and crying and what not and she was scared.”
A spokesperson for Orange County Public Schools confirms the incident, saying that a child turned left instead of right in the hallway on her way back to class. The spokesperson also confirms the child id leave campus and was “returned by a kind neighbor who saw her. The child was outside for moments,” OCPS said in a statement.
Bonadonna says it's unclear how long Carmela was outside because the camera on that side of the school is broken. OCPS did not comment on the cameras.
What we do know is that Orange County schools says Princeton Elementary School will be putting a buzzer on the back door that Carmela went out. OCPS also tells FOX 35 they've increased the amount of time adult hall monitors will be in place to make sure students don't make wrong turns. They also say they'll increase the number of employees who do sweeps in the hallways after the bell rings.
"That's what we were hoping for,” said Bonadonna.
Even though new safety measures are being put in place because of this incident, Bonadonna has pulled his daughter out of Princeton Elementary School. For now Carmela will be home schooled.