Mom looking for answers after her 6-year-old daughter and friend walk away from Swampscott school

SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Erin Rioux is frustrated and just wants some answers. She is upset after her 6-year-old daughter and a friend were able to simply walk away unnoticed from Clarke Elementary School Thursday morning.

“I feel like there should be something that they’re saying to us instead of keeping us in the dark,” said Rioux.

She tells Boston 25 News it’s hard to believe her daughter just walked away without anyone noticing.

“It’s just negligent because they walked out and they would have had to walk almost three blocks down the street which would have been through a fence you can clearly see through — a chain link fence and then cross the street and still not be seen,” said Rioux.

Boston 25 obtained this letter sent to parents explaining some of what happened. It says in part:

“During a recess period, two first-grade students wandered off school grounds. When it was discovered that they were unaccounted for, school staff immediately began a search in the area of the school and notified police.” - From Superintendent Pamela Angelakis

The school letter to parents says they jumped into action calling police immediately and found the two first grade students within 15-20 minutes near the Whole Foods in Swampscott. But that clashes with the timeline Rioux heard from her daughter.

She told Boston 25 that her daughter stopped at her friend’s to play and then they walked to the market nearly a mile away. She says that’s not possible in 20 minutes even for an adult.

“Just a timeline. Who was supervising them? How many kids were out there I just want to know how this could have happened,” she said.

Rioux hoped to hear from the superintendent herself. She did not, but did talk to a school psychologist, however, still has no answers.

“They should actually be talking to us and telling us how it happened and then telling us how they’re going to negate it next time,” said Rioux. In an additional statement the superintendent wrote:

We are meeting with school leadership, staff, and School Resource Officer Brian Wilson of the Swampscott Police to review policies and procedures regarding the supervision of students outside the building, with an emphasis on ensuring all potential exit points are monitored at all times.” - Superintendent Pamela Angelakis

Rioux was told the principal will call her on Monday.

And she was informed that there will be a meeting on Wednesday for parents to talk about this. Rioux says she’ll be there.

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