Thea Digiammerino

8-Year-Old With Autism Wanders Away From New Britain Elementary School

A New Britain mother says a stranger came to the rescue when her son wandered away from school Tuesday afternoon.

Nicole Norton’s 8-year-old son Jack, who has autism, wandered away from Vance Elementary School Tuesday afternoon. Taylor Simon noticed him on the side of the road without a coat and gave him a ride home.

"When he walked to the corner he didn't know what to do. He didn't know how to cross the street, that's when I jumped in my car and grabbed him, and I asked he wanted a ride home and he said yes,” Simon said.

She reported the incident to New Britain police and the school. New Britain police confirmed they responded to the home to check on Jack. Police said a school social worker was at the house when police arrived.

Nicole said Jack left school as he transitioned from one class to the next.

"Between the walk to the special services class he decided to leave,” she explained.

"I left school, I went out the front door," Jack said.

Thanks to Simon, Jack made it home safe, and his mother is grateful for that.

"It could have been so much worse," Nicole said.

New Britain Superintendent released the following statement on the situation:

"We are aware of the incident that occurred at Vance Elementary School earlier today where a student left school property without permission.

Very shortly after, a neighbor just a few houses away saw the student and brought the student home. The neighbor then reported it to the police department and at the same time, the neighbor’s spouse called the school to inform them of the situation.

As soon as administration was notified at Vance Elementary School, they immediately called the police department to ensure that the student was safe. A staff member was then sent to the student’s home as a secondary safety measure. The student was at home with the mother and was indeed safe.

My office was in contact with the administration at Vance School throughout the incident and have been made aware of all updates throughout the afternoon.

We are in the process of reviewing our security cameras to determine the sequence of events that led up to the student leaving the building."

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