Elementary School Student Walks Out Of Her Classroom, Building In Northern Westchester

A school district in Northern Westchester is implementing additional safety protocols after a young student was able to walk out of her classroom and leave the building, officials said. 

Hawthorne Elementary School.

Hawthorne Elementary School.

Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

The incident happened on Monday afternoon, Feb. 5, when a student at Hawthorne Elementary School walked out of her classroom and then the building, Mount Pleasant Central School District Superintendent Peter Giarrizzo said in a letter to families on Tuesday, Feb. 6. 

Luckily, the girl was soon found and safely returned to the school by staff members, and Mount Pleasant Police, distinct officials, and the student's parents were quickly notified. 

The "unacceptable" incident prompted the district to investigate the circumstances that allowed the girl to be able to leave school, Giarrizzo said. 

The investigation, which has since been completed, resulted in the district implementing the following safety protocols: 

  • Certain exterior doors at Hawthorne and Columbus Elementary Schools that are not supervised will have alarms installed on them, which will notify staff if the doors are opened by students or anyone without a badge to swipe. The doors currently only have sensors to notify staff if they are left ajar;
  • While these alarms are installed, additional safety protocols and staff members will be posted at doors to monitor them;
  • The front door at Hawthorne Elementary will be used as a single point of entry for all students going to and from the playground;
  • More security monitors were installed at Hawthorne and Columbus Elementary Schools, and will also be installed in the district's middle schools as well;
  • The district's Building Emergency Response Teams will be practicing and enhancing internal and external emergency communication protocols;
  • Enhanced safety procedures and staff training related to students leaving buildings or classrooms will be implemented. 

These protocols are effective immediately, Giarrizzo said.

"We will continue to review and update our procedures around student safety. The Mount Pleasant Central School District is committed to ensuring best practices are in place and will use this experience to continue doing so," he wrote in his letter to families. 

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