Mother frustrated child left unsupervised at Hollywood school, walked half-mile off campus

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - The mother of a South Florida student who wandered away from her school’s campus is furious to learn that school officials did not notice she was gone.

Seven-year-old Sha’mya Williams thought that school was over and went outside looking for the bus she normally takes to her after-care program on Thursday. The child said she didn’t see anyone around, so she walked out of the gate.

Her mother, Sabrina Williams, is upset because her daughter was unsupervised and walked about a half a mile away from campus without anyone knowing.

“She could have got hit by a car, killed, anything could have happened to her,” Williams said.

The first-grader attends Colbert Elementary in Hollywood.

“To my understanding, the teacher had to leave work early because she had an illness,” Williams said. “When me and the principal had a meeting on Friday, to her knowledge, it was never brought up to the office that the teacher was leaving early.”

Sha’mya said she couldn’t find anyone anywhere. “I was in the restroom, and I got out. I was looking for everybody,” she said. “I went to the lunchroom, and nobody was in there.”

That’s when the 7-year-old went outside looking for her bus. Since it was about 20 minutes prior to school being let out, the bus was not there.

“I thought school was over,” Sha’mya said, “so I walked out of the school, and I ran to daycare.”

Sha’mya ran down Plunkett Street and South 28th Avenue before she headed to busy Pembroke Road.

“I was just standing there, and when all the cars stopped, I just walked straight,” Sha’mya said.

She headed to Foster Street and walked to her after-care, Choices Children’s Academy.

The after-care is about half a mile away and is approximately a 13-minute walk.

“There’s predators in that neighborhood. By her walking and whatever, we don’t know anyone could have picked her up, hurt her,” the concerned mother said.

Williams said the teacher texted her later that day. “She was saying, ‘OMG, I’m sorry. I sent the kids to a teacher who they do dismissal with,'” Williams said. “No, sorry isn’t enough.”

The principal also apologized for the situation, but Williams said it isn’t good enough.

“I work at a school, so I know the protocol,” Williams said. “If it’s easy for them to get off campus, it won’t be hard for [someone] to get on there either if the gate is unlocked.”

The Broward County School Board has since released a statement that reads in part, “The school’s leadership is reviewing and working with staff to reinforce proper procedures and processes, and is taking appropriate action. The school is also taking the necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Williams told 7News that she reached out to the superintendent’s office and said she has not heard back as yet.

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