A Toronto woman is demanding answers after her six-year-old daughter and a friend were allowed to wander away from their East York elementary school on Tuesday.
The Grade 1 students, who are in different classes at Holy Cross Catholic School, were found by a stranger as they were trying to jaywalk across Donlands Avenue, a busy four-lane road.
“I yelled, ‘Stay right there!’” said Deirdre, who was outside raking leaves when she noticed the girls about to dodge traffic. “I asked them if they had an adult with them, and they said no.”
Deirdre told CityNews she considered calling police, but one of the girls said she lived close by.
“So I followed them,” Deirdre said. “She ran in and knocked on the door and the mom came out and she was aghast.”
Melissa Dickemous, who was home sick on Tuesday, was stunned to see her daughter Aiyanna and a friend on her doorstep. She quickly made a call to the school to tell them that the young students were not at school.
“I feel scared; I feel worried; I feel frustrated; I feel so many emotions,” Dickemous said. “I keep thinking if I hadn’t called the school, how long would it have taken them to call me?”
Aiyanna said she met up with her friend in the washroom of their school and decided to go to Aiyanna’s home to play with her pet cat.
When Aiyanna’s friend didn’t return, the school went on high alert and every teacher did an attendance check.
Still, they didn’t realize Aiyanna was missing.
“In the middle of all that, what was not known was the second student had also slipped away,” said Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesman John Yan.
“And in the midst of the confusion, because they were looking for one student, [they were] not knowing that they were looking for two.”
The school’s superintendent and principal are investigating and looking for gaps in the missing student protocol.