Here’s one of those terrifying stories that is thankfully rare but that will still scare the crap out of most parents. It goes like this: Massachusetts dad Keith Paquette arrived at Westport Country Day School just after 5 p.m. to pick up his 3-year-old daughter Samantha Jo. But when he arrived, the building was locked and empty. He called his wife, who then called a teacher, who returned to the school to see what was going on. In the meantime, Paquette began searching frantically for his daughter at the playground and in the woods. Eventually, he heard crying from inside, so Paquette did what any good parent would do – he used a bicycle to smash out a window to get to his child.
Thank god the little girl was unharmed, but clearly she was shaken (though I imagine not as shaken as her parents). Police and state child welfare officials are investigating, but the Paquettes have already found a new preschool (obvs).
What’s even more horrifying than the the fact that a 3-year-old was locked up, alone, inside a school is the fact that no one’s taking accountability.
The Paquettes told FOX 25 that Samantha Jo had an accident in the school’s restroom and was too embarrassed to go back to class afterwards. But according to The Associated Press, school officials told police they did a sweep of the building before leaving and that the little girl had been checked off on a list indicating she’d been picked up. In fact, staff told police that Samantha Jo was release to her grandmother earlier in the afternoon. But that sounds really fishy to me; if her grandmother picked her up, what was Samantha Jo doing back in school at 5:15 p.m.?
The school remains open while an investigation is underway but I must say, if I had my own child in that school I’d be concerned. Yes, accidents happen – we’ve unfortunately heard stories like this one before – but it’s always freaky to be reminded of our vulnerability as parents.