SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – A 9-year-old walked away from a Spartanburg school Monday after he said he was touched inappropriately by a classmate.
The people who know 9-year-old Amari English best say he’s as gentle as they come, the last person you’d think would just walk out of school.
“I ran out of the school hoping and praying that I was be there safely,“ said English.
This 4th-grader claims a classmate at West View Elementary in Spartanburg was touching him inappropriately and he says he felt his concerns were dismissed by his teacher, who reportedly told him she would “handle it“ and to “go sit back down.“
“I was just telling myself that if she won’t handle it, I will,” English said. “And I don’t think no one else would have believed me and I know someone who would, which was my grandma.“
The boy said that he made it a mile and a half down the road with a few drivers calling out to him, but it wasn’t until he made it to the Rock Springs area that a driver pulled over and offered him a ride he decided to accept.
When English arrived at his grandma’s and his mother, Dee, found out, she learned that the school knew a child was missing because drivers had called, but that they had no idea it was her child.
“So then it turned [from] like thank God to anger because y’all [are] supposed to be watching my child,” she said. “When I drop him off, y’all are responsible for him.“
West View Principal Dr. Lindi Metcalf said English’s mom has every right to be upset.
We asked her what she wants parents to know who wonder how the school could let a child walk out of the building.
“At that point we knew within a minute a child was missing,” Metcalf said. “He asked to go to the restroom and there is a level of independence that we try to teach our children to make good choices, and at this point he left the building. And within immediately being notified we were able to go start that search for him.”
Metcalf said while doors can’t be locked from the inside because of fire code, the school will look to change its policy when classes go to related arts, since it was that transition that led to English’s teacher not realizing he was missing.
English’s mom hopes his teacher is held accountable.
She’s also since talked to her son about safety and hopes to save other families from experiencing the same ordeal.