Family upset after Warren student told to walk home - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Family upset after Warren student told to walk home

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WARREN, Ohio -

The family of a Warren second grader is upset after the young student was told to walk home from school this week.

When eight-year-old Serenity Mathews didn't get off the bus Monday afternoon, her grandma knew something was wrong. 

Family members notified the staff at Jefferson K-8 and started looking for the girl.

Mathews was found a half hour later about a mile and a half away from the school, running and crying near the intersection of Palmyra and Risher roads. 

The second-grader says she was told by her teacher to walk home, even though she insisted that's not something she normally does.

"I tried, but nobody was listening to me and my teacher said go," Mathews said. "I was trying to find my way home and the bus wasn't there. I was trying to find the bus and I couldn't find it."

Mathews lives four miles away from the school, which is too far for her to walk. Where the little girl was found didn't put her family at ease either.

"It's not a good area. There have been multiple crimes over there," said Tonya Coy, Mathews' aunt.

Warren City Schools Superintendent Steve Chiaro says the district is now investigating the matter.

So far he's been able to determine that an individual in the school office "mistakenly called the wrong child" with instructions to walk home. Chiaro says the mix up involved a student with the same first name.

While he calls the situation a "human error," Chiaro says the district needs to do better. 

"Our position is 'how are we going to make sure this doesn't happen again'," he said.

Chiaro says staff and the school resource officer were also out looking for the girl before she was found.

Coy believes the school needs to make changes and possibly require additional training so that this doesn't happen again.

"There may be another child that's not lucky to have family that's even home at that point to be able to go out and look for them and they may not return," she said.

She says Mathews' future in the district is uncertain at this point. Mathews said she was nervous about going back to school.

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