EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — An Anthony, Texas mom is demanding answers after she claims the Anthony Independent School District left her 9-year-old son with autism outside during a lockdown at Anthony Elementary School.
Valerie Ramirez said the incident happened on Jan. 5.
They were neglectful and they were careless," said Ramirez. “They left my child outside when it was cold.
Ramirez said she was running late to school and needed to sign her son in at the front office.
"I dropped him off and signed him in myself at 7:41," said Ramirez.
Ramirez left thinking her son was inside the classroom.
“He walked out to go ahead and go to his other building, which is the 4th-grade hallway," she said.
According to the school district, school resource officers walk tardy students to their classrooms but that day the officer was sick. If an SRO is not available, another staff member does it.
While Ramirez said her son tried to make it inside his class, he was locked out.
According to the district, school policy says all classroom doors must be locked while instruction is underway.
Ramirez said nearly seven minutes after signing her son in, the principal issued a lockdown while her son was still outside.
“According to the message that the school sent that there was an active shooter nearby," she added.
The lockdown was issued because police were chasing a man accused of shooting his girlfriend and at officers.
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While the investigation was underway, Ramirez said her son was outside alone for nearly an hour.
It’s scary because I mean not only for the safety of my children but the safety of everyone," said Ramirez.
She said she learned of the incident through her son and it was later confirmed to her by a teacher.
Ramirez said her son is now scared of going to school.
"For my kid to come home and tell me, ‘you know what mom, I want you to work at school because I don’ feel safe' or 'I don’t want to go to school because I don't feel protected' like that’s not ok," said Ramirez.
The school district shared the following statement about the incident:
Anthony Elementary School went into lockdown Jan. 5 at approximately 7:45 a.m. after receiving a credible phone call from a district director saying that we should go into lockdown due to an armed threat on Antonio St. Instruction begins at AES at 7:30 a.m.; the tardy bell rings at 7:35 a.m. After 7:35 a.m., district policy to lock all classroom doors during instruction goes into effect. The district also follows Texas Education Agency (TEA) actions which require that all exterior doors remain closed and locked during instructional time. These policies were implemented following the heartbreaking event in Uvalde when an armed subject reportedly entered the building and classroom through two open doors.
Our surveillance cameras show a student being dropped off tardy to school at approximately 7:42 a.m. The student begins walking to class at a time when both closed/locked door requirements were in effect. The student is seen on surveillance making their way to class through an exterior pathway on district property that has been secured with protective barriers when the lockdown began.
Per Texas State’s Standard Response Protocol, during a lockdown, adults are trained lock themselves and students in their classrooms, turn off the lights, remain quiet and hide – which is what our students and staff in the building did for their safety.
Upon discovering there was a student outside and once it was deemed safe for the others, the student was brought indoors.
The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. During situations such as these, time is of the essence. Our employees follow state protocol and act quickly to ensure everyone is brought to a safe place without jeopardizing the safety of others. We ask our parents to help us by ensuring their students are dropped off on time for the safety of the child and others. We have assigned extra personnel to walk students to class when they’re late to avoid a similar event. We do not have a record of a child with autism being locked outside of the building. Our superintendent spoke with the concerned parent.
Meantime, Ramirez says this could have been prevented.
"They have phones in their rooms and nobody knew, ‘hey, you know what, so and so is entering late,' I mean walk him down," she said.
Ramirez said she is considering taking her son out of school because she doesn’t think he is safe there.
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