Mother: Autistic son wandered from school, no one called for hours

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A mother said her 8-year-old autistic son got locked out of Crump Elementary for hours, and no one called her about the problem until he was found.

Aundrea Williams said a teacher didn't check to make sure her son made it back from music class in a portable classroom to the main building.

Instead, Williams said her son had to knock on the school door, before knocking on other people's doors in the heat Thursday.

Williams said a Memphis police officer stepped in after spotting the boy walking alone blocks away from the school.

Williams said her son's homeroom teacher called her when the officer brought her son back to the school, but at that point, it was about two hours after he disappeared.

"If anyone is going to send their child to a school, and they feel secure in their heart and their mind that their child is safe, I was shown otherwise," Williams said.

Williams said she has spoken with the principal, but each time she asks why she was not notified, he reportedly dodges it.

"I'm focused, because this has to do with my autistic son, and I need to tell you to tell me why didn't you call me during the two hours you knew my son was missing from that school," Williams said.

Shelby County Schools issued the following statement:

"We know that on Thursday, a student was found outside the school during class hours. This happened shortly after class transition when students were moving between the portable classrooms and the main building. The parent was contacted when the student was brought back into the school."

Williams said she has filed a neglect complaint against the school.

She said she is trying to move, so that her sons can attend a different school.


  • Christine

    It seems that his teacher did not know that the boy was missing. The school systems today do not put the safety of students as a priority. All elementary schools should have a teacher and a teacher’s assistant in each classroom. Some might not agree with that. A teacher is not allowed to leave their class unattended. If a student need to go to the restroom, they should be escorted. Students should be supervised at all times. When I was in school we had hall monitors. Also the principals back then use to walk the halls to make sure that there were no problems.

    • donaknowsitall

      Many schools still do that Christine. All in all, this is not a blame game, this is about a student being locked out with no way of getting into the school during class hours. It’s a sad thing that the doors have to be locked in the first place – even though I can understand that issue too.

  • Michelle

    This is horrific!!! That poor child… It has been so very hot and he must have been so scared. And I shudder to think of what could have happened to him….. SO many bad things. Glad the police found him and returned him. I’m very glad the Mom is pursuing this because the fact that he was missing for two hours is just insane!!!

  • princewatercress

    Two instances where the schools can’t watch these kids, an autistic kid goes missing, and the school just wants to sidestep the whole thing and just not deal with it. Meanwhile, the parents of said kids are now attempting moving to different schools because their current schools doesn’t even want to do anything to remedy these situations. ALL IN ONE MONTH.

    This is in-effing-credible. I am now becoming more and more convinced that Shelby County Schools is not adequately equipped to deal with autistic kids and those with similar disorders. You can have all the physical tools and materials needed to help them in any way possible, but they don’t mean jack when the school staff can’t even do a swell job of keeping track of kids when something like this happens, autistic or not.

    I’m glad the kids in both cases are okay, but when something like what happened at Dexter Middle earlier in the month makes some sort of return appearance, I’m really beginning to wonder what’s going on with Shelby County Schools.

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