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Voice: Questins need to be answered regarding son's odyssey

June 27, 2002

On June 17 my family and I had a very traumatic experience. My son was attending his first day of summer school at Hedrick School. Due to what I believe was inadequate supervision, my 6-year-old was allowed to embark on what to him was a journey home.

Please allow me to retrace my son's path on his journey home. Picture the fact that Hedrick is located on the corner of Orange and Waterman and his destination was Scott Avenue and 19th Street. He exited the unattended north gate of Hedrick School, crossed Waterman, walked east on Orange Avenue. to Imperial Avenue, then he headed north on Imperial Avenue on what he believed was his journey home. He crossed Brighton Avenue, the parking lot entrance of JCPenney and then came to the stoplight at the southwest intersection on Imperial Avenue and Main Street, on what he thought was his journey home. Passing the intersection he came to a construction site and continued north passing several businesses.

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While crossing Barbara Worth Drive my son encountered a van occupied by good Samaritans. They took the time to stop and question my son. With the help of these good Samaritans whose names are not known due to my son's school failing to take information down about these people, but to whom we are truly grateful, they took my son back to Hedrick School.

It was then that I was notified by a third party of the incident. I am happy that my son completed his journey home safely.

But now I pose these questions: Who is to blame? What could have been done to avoid this nightmare? Should someone be disciplined? Should someone stand up and take responsibility? How is it that my child was left unnoticed while the rest of the children were being formed into their groups, let alone exiting the school grounds?

Let's all keep in mind that every morning we send our children off to school with the feeling that they will be safe. Also, I fail to understand how no one noticed a 6-year-old little boy crying and walking alone at 1 p.m. in the afternoon.

SARINA HERNANDEZ

El Centro

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