MARION, Ark.- An Arkansas mother says she was forced to call DHS after her autistic son was left alone in his classroom for an hour, and no one notified her about it.

Renee Johns said it happened earlier this month after her son Jacob was dropped off by his daycare at Marion Visual and Performing Arts School. She said the 8-year-old walked by himself to his classroom, but his teacher never showed up.

Johns said Jacob was discovered by his therapist, who comes to the school twice a week.

“He found Jacob hiding in a fort he had made because Jacob is scared to be alone,” said Johns. “He had already missed breakfast, and he was hungry.

She said her son, who has a number of behavioral problems, has been known to run, and his classroom is right next to an exit door.

“Nobody would have noticed he was gone because they wouldn’t have realized he was in there. He was one street over from the interstate,” she said.

View of the interstate from the school.
Jacob Johns

Johns said DHS told her school administrators were not aware her son’s teacher was off that day, and that is why he was left unsupervised.

The principal sent Johns a letter apologizing for what happened and told her steps were being taken to ensure it didn’t happen again.

Johns said it’s not enough. She believes someone should be held accountable for what happened to her son.

“If I did that as a mother, they would turn around and take him away from me and file neglect and child endangerment charges,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Marion School District released this statement:

The Marion School District takes matters like this very seriously. We are working to thoroughly investigate the situation and will take appropriate action once we have all the appropriate information.

Johns said the DHS investigation is ongoing.