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School 82 incident prompts policy change proposal

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

When a five-year-old special education student at School 82 put on his coat and backpack and left school, no one noticed until he was found wandering by a police officer. Officials are moving to prevent such situations from occurring again.

Interim Schools Superintendent Donald Ogilvie has looked at the surveillance camera images of the incident unfolding and is very unhappy about the breakdowns which allowed the student to leave the school.

The student is now getting home instruction. The principal has been suspended.

The school board is being asked to approve the new policy next week, after a committee hearing Wednesday night.

"Unfortunately, it's an ever-changing environment and certain situations happen," said Board Member Jay McCarthy.

"I think we've learned from this and we need to change policy and that's what happens as you move forward in a district this size that unfortunately this happened. And, unfortunately, terrible decisions were made."

The District Parent Coordinating Council has produced a list of somewhat similar past incidents. Ogilvie isn't aware of them since they occurred well before he came to the city system.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.