How could another special needs student wander off? - FOX 13 News

How could another special needs student wander off?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

How could special needs student, Jennifer Caballero, slip away from her teachers, and end up dead in a school retention pond last October?

It's a haunting question, and tragedy that rocked the Hillsborough School District and a community.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia promised at the time to take action.

But just one week after Jenny's death, another special needs student walked out of Pierce Middle School and headed home—on a six-mile journey.

No one knew it, until the boys' mother called the school to let them know what happened.

Now the teacher, Ingrid Peavy, will be out of a job soon.

"We called CPI, which is child protective services with the sheriff's office. They investigated and we investigated," said Steve Hagerty, spokesman for Hillsborough School District.

"We concluded that the teacher did not follow the plan, which is a solid plan, which would have prevented this, so that's why we're taking this action," he said.

Since Jenny's tragedy, there are new policies, and even a checklist in place, to prevent and respond to runaway students.

"There are children who do like to wander, who do like to run, and in a classroom with so many students, sometimes it's very difficult to manage that," said April Griffin, Hillsborough School Board Chair.

"So we've got some things in place that alert all staff," she said.

In fact, school officials said it's only a matter of time before a student tries to wander away.

Jeff Aekins was a member of the districts' task force which tightened safety procedures for missing students.

He said when it does happen they'll be ready for it.

"If after five minutes the child is not located, then 911 is activated and that search continues until authorities arrive," said Aekins.

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