Child Wanders Off School Grounds During Recess

OMAHA (KPTM) - A 6-year-old Iowa boy is home safe after wandering away from the school playground. The parents are overjoyed he's home safe but they say the school waited too long to notify them.

"How can that happen at a school? You trust these people with your kids lives and come to find out their not there, could've been abducted, could've been anything, so your heart drops right away."

Mike Chapman says his 6-year-old stepson; Ashton was missing nearly 30 minutes before the school contacted him. "I had a knock on the door, I went to see who it was, it was some kind of assistant at the school. She asked me if Ashton was here and I said no."

Walnut elementary school officials say Ashton was playing outside at recess. When all the kids went back inside, he was nowhere to be found. "Went back to check, couldn't find him there on the playground and so we really kind of scoured the playground and also checked restrooms and places in the building that you might find him and came up empty handed," principal Kent Klinkefus says.

When Chapman first heard the news his stepson was gone his heart dropped. "I mean they're 6 year olds, and you've only got 9-10 kids in a class, how can you miss one?"

"If you've ever been a parent and had children and couldn't locate them in an instant, that's how you feel. You just, nobody wants that to happen on their shift and we aren't any different," principal Klinkefus says.

A secretary found Ashton heading toward downtown just a few blocks from the interstate. "You think the worst, all the things you see on TV, abductions and stuff," Chapman says.

He says the school handled the situation poorly and should've contacted him immediately. The school claims the little boy was being bad and wasn't missing. "It's not a little boy being bad, it's somebody not doing their job at the school," Chapman says.

School officials say they took away Ashton's recess privileges. Chapman says his child shouldn't be punished. He asks that the school hire enough teachers to watch the students during recess.