Mum's fury as five-year-old is sent home from school alone

Tanya Edwards

A woman has been left fuming after she claims her five-year-old son was sent to walk home alone on his third day of school.

Mum Sara Tavares, from Florida, had organised for her son’s grandmother to pick him up from school, but instead, the child was found by a school resource officer about a mile from the school, after having wandered around lost for 45 minutes.

“I’m furious,” Sara told local news service WFTV. “I mean, I’m so – I’m still shaking about it.”

Five-year-old Joey Hoffman told the news station he was surprised to see the officer.

“The cop found me,” he said. “I thought I was going to jail.”

Joey Hoffman was lost after being sent home from school. Photo: WFTV

His grandmother, Larianne Warner, was waiting to walk him home at Winter Garden’s SunRidge Elementary School.

“That would be the third time I would have picked him up in front of the office,” she said. “That was our designated spot.”

“(I felt) sheer panic and terror. (I was) scared to death. No one knew where he was. No one had a clue,” she said. “Anything could have happened. Come on now. (For) an hour he’s been walking around Tildenville looking for our house.”

The school says the problem was one of communication. For some reason, young Joey was listed as a child who walks home on his own and was sent out another door with the other walkers.


Orange County Public Schools said there was a breakdown in communication, but the family says they have a clear plan that was communicated to the school.

“The incident serves as a reminder for all parents to have clear communication with their children and teachers about what should happen before and after school,” a spokeswoman for the schools told WFTV.

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