BLOOMFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) — Angry parents are demanding answers after their 5-year-old boy walked away from his elementary school in New Jersey, only to be found several blocks away by a good Samaritan.
The parents spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News reporter Toni Yates.
“I’m heartbroken that this happened to my child,” Tristan’s mother Ebony Diehl said.
Ebony Diehl was at work Monday, about 40 minutes away.
Her 5-year-old son Tristan was on the playground at Fairview Elementary School in Bloomfield. Diehl says it was lunchtime when lunch monitors were supposed to be keeping an eye on the kindergartners running around.
“The only reason that they knew he was missing was because some brave little girls came back and told an adult that he had left,” Diehl said. “No adult was paying attention to these small children out on this big play yard. No adults were paying attention.”
The 5-year-old began walking down the sidewalk along Montgomery Street towards home.
Diehl says the school never called her during the time when Tristan was gone.
“I know him well enough to know what he may or may not do, where he may go or may not go,” Diehl said. “He’s familiar with this area. We live over here, we’re not far from the school. So, I should have been called immediately when someone realized he wasn’t there.”
Tristan’s father Terrell Diehl looked down the blocks at the streets and driveways his son crossed alone. He says anything could have happened to his son.
Both parents are livid. They say their son easily slipped through the fence, either where a piece is missing, or where the fence is being held together by a chain, where the latch appears to be broken.
“They need to fix that as soon as possible,” Terrell Diehl said.
They walked home with Tristan on Wednesday, smiling with him and hoping he doesn’t see how they really feel inside.
“I haven’t really slept since this happened,” Ebony Diehl said. “I’m on edge. I want my kids to be safe.”
Eyewitness News reached out to the school district in Bloomfield but have not heard back yet.
Bloomfield Police confirmed that the school called them immediately once they realized that the child was missing. Police came out to the school, but by the time they arrived a staff member from the school had found Tristan down the street.
Police said they checked him out to make sure he was ok.
Tristan’s parents say that his teacher has been very supportive of them, but they want reassurances that Tristan and all of the children at the school will have adequate adult supervision whenever they are outside.
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