Family livid after school allows kids to wander streets

Posted at: 11/12/2012 10:14 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News

Parents are clueless as to how their kids ended up leaving the Dolores Gonzales Elementary School and were found walking almost four miles away from the school. The girls’ ages are nine, eight and six.

The Barelas Community Center, across from the school, has an after-school program for kids, but was closed because of Veterans Day. The parents did not know and neither did the kids. The second grade teacher for one of the girls, Ms. Perea, called their father to let him know. She left him a voicemail, telling him about the kids not going to the program and that she wanted to let him know before the kids walked home.

"(The teacher is) supposed to go through the contact list, and if they can't contact me or their mother, there are other people they're supposed to call," Mike Lopez, the girls' father, said.

The other people on the contact list said they did not get a call. That includes the three girls' mother, their aunt, their uncle and grand-father.

The girls' aunt picked up the girls, who were walking on 2nd street, near Rio Bravo. She was stunned to find them walking on the side of the road.

"'Cause you never know what can happen, especially since it gets dark earlier. If we hadn't caught them when we did, who knows what could have happened to them," Andrea Valles said.

The girls mother was livid about the situation.

"I was very frustrated because I've had them write all my contact information of them on the list. Everybody, all the emergency contacts, they should have called somebody," Deanna Valles said.

All children have a permission slip indicating if they can walk home from school, but Valles said her children have no permission to do such a thing.

"They should make sure that someone is there for the kids before they just release them like that, especially to walk home with just how little they are," Valles said.

Albuquerque Public Schools said they have to confirm with the school on Tuesday about the validity of what happened on their end. The spokesperson said if Ms. Perea or other school administrators violated any rules, they could face disciplinary action.

The mother said she plans on speaking to the teacher on Tuesday morning.

"I'm very upset that she let my kids walk and what really could have happened to them. I mean, something bad could have happened to them," she said.