Parents of 4-Year Old Who Wandered Out of Elementary School Say School Put Daughter in Danger

The 4-year old wandered away from Foster Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon, ending up at Allied Garden Pool several blocks away.

The parents of a four-year old girl who wandered away from her elementary school in Allied Gardens told NBC 7 the school put their child in danger and they have moved their daughter to another school.

Denise Cuellar and Jesus Amaro sat down in an interview with NBC 7 on Friday.

Their daughter wandered away from Foster Elementary School after she went on a bathroom break with a buddy around 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. The little girl walked through one of the gates, crossing several blocks and a busy intersection, finally ending up at the Allied Garden Pool.

Cuellar and Amaro say they are outraged that the teacher did not immediately notice their daughter was missing from the classroom.

“It is by—honestly the grace of God that my child is safe today. Someone was looking over her,” Cueller said.

The parents told us they have removed their daughter from Foster Elementary School and moved her to another school withing the San Diego Unified School District. They say they are upset that school officials knew the gate their daughter wandered out of was an issue but did nothing to fix it.

“Too many people have keys, deliveries go in and out,” Cueller said.

Ceuller said she was notified by employees at the Allied Garden Pool. School officials did not call her until at least an hour after her daughter went missing.

“First thing I don't understand, is the red flag not going up from a teacher when the child never came back to class,” said father Jesus Amaro.

Cuellar says her daughter's teacher assumed another teacher was watching over her child.

In the meantime, Foster Elementary has changed its bathroom break policy for transitional Kindergarten through first grade after the incident. All of the students will be accompanied by an adult at all times.

But Cueller questions why the change was implemented only after a child was put in danger.

Foster Elementary School Principal Karla Shiminski declined requests by NBC 7 for an interview on Friday.

In a statement, a school district official said the principal: "Understands the parents' concerns and is working to ensure this does not happen again. As mentioned previously, they have updated their procedures for when students are out of class and put another lock on the gate for which only the principal and custodian have access."

But the little girl’s parents plan to speak to the San Diego County Board of Education and possibly a teachers union.

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