AUSTIN --- An investigation is underway by Austin police and the Austin Independent School District Police Department regarding a four-year-old girl who wandered away from her Pre-K class Thursday.
Austin firefighters were responding to an unrelated call on east St. Johns Avenue around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
When the firefighters got to the intersection of St. Johns and Providence, they saw a four-year-old girl walking by herself in the middle of the road, so they called police.
“It's an unfortunate incident. We want to take all the steps we can to ensure that we fix whatever happened to ensure that it doesn't happen again,” said AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez to KVUE News Thursday evening.
The school district’s police chief also says the girl was with her class at the playground outside when she wandered away. An AISD spokesperson says the little girl was gone from the school for at least 10 minutes.
The girl was reportedly doing fine, and her parents were called immediately upon her return, says AISD.
AISD police were at Pickle Elementary School Friday morning to continue their investigation and to answer parents' questions.
AISD released the following statement Friday morning:
AISD is conducting a thorough investigation to identify how to prevent these incidents from happening again. Any time something occurs that indicates our system is not fail-safe, we will work purposefully to identify where a breakdown occurred and correct it.
KVUE News has been told the teacher of the class the girl wandered away from is now on administrative leave with pay.
Also Friday, AISD sent letters home to parents of children at Pickle Elementary. A slightly different letter is being sent to parents of children in the affected class. That letter says the affected class will have a certified substitute teacher and assistant to work with the children when they return to class.