Two autistic boys walked away from Kokanee Elementary School and were missing for two hours before being found walking near Interstate 405...
Two autistic boys walked away from Kokanee Elementary School and were missing for two hours before being found walking near Interstate 405 yesterday.
The boys, ages 7 and 8, were reported missing from the Northshore School District school at 12:45 yesterday afternoon. They were picked up about three miles from the school by a KIRO-TV reporter in the area to report on the story and a school-bus driver who had been alerted that they were missing.
Washington State Patrol troopers also responded after numerous motorists called 911 to report the boys wandering along the side of the freeway.
According to Susan Stoltzfous, Northshore School District spokeswoman, the school notified the parents of the two boys, the police and school-bus drivers who were on streets in the area, after a search of the school grounds turned up no sign of them. The actions taken are part of the school-district’s plan to handle cases of missing children.
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Stoltzfous credited the procedures with finding the boys quickly. Mike Crain, the father of one of the boys, didn’t see it that way.
Crain spent several frantic hours at home yesterday afternoon as his wife, Shirley, and the mother of the other boy joined the search. He said he doesn’t understand how two special-needs children could walk away from the school.
“I’m going to pull him out of the school,” said Crain, who said he’s also considering suing the school.
According to Stoltzfous, the staff at Kokanee met after school to discuss the incident. She indicated that the school district will be looking at how schools can learn from the incident but stressed that the system in place worked well in recovering the boys.
“I’m sure the lessons learned today will be shared with other schools,” Stoltzfous said.
Special-needs children are enrolled at schools throughout the district.
The school has playground observers who would have been responsible for watching the boys at the time of their disappearance, Stoltzfous said.
Matt Ironside: 205-464-2449 or firstname.lastname@example.org