Meriden mother speaks after student goes missing for over an hou - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Meriden mother speaks after student goes missing for over an hour inside elementary school

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A student went missing at Thomas Hooker Elementary School in Meriden. (WFSB) A student went missing at Thomas Hooker Elementary School in Meriden. (WFSB)
MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) -

A student at a Meriden elementary school went missing for about 90 minutes on Tuesday and now, a mother, who experienced a similar situation is reacting to the response.

The principal of Thomas Hooker Elementary School said administrators immediately contacted police about the missing kindergartener. After the call, crews searched the grounds and the student was located in another teacher’s classroom. 

The student was returned to his family before school dismissal.

The unidentified 5-year-old student went into the wrong classroom after lunch.

Principal Louise Moss said at no time did the student leave the building and no students were at risk.

One parent said the incident brought back painful memories. 

"Of course, I got in the car and raced over," Meriden mother Heather Lawrence said. 

Three years ago, Lawrence's daughter Harley, who was then 6 years old, and another student, left the grounds of Israel Putnam Elementary School. She said after lunch, she headed home. Lawrence said she had no idea her daughter had gone missing from school until a neighbor, not the school, notified her.  

"They sent a janitor to her school whatever to look for her," Lawrence said. "I did not find out till an hour after, police were not called it was handled poorly."

On Tuesday, the school district took a much different approach in their efforts to locate the missing child. 

"A lot of police, I mean state police, the town police. Teachers everywhere," Lawrence said. "It was comforting to me see the way that Miss Moss handled it."

Harley is now 9-years-old, and is a student at Thomas Hooker Elementary School. Lawrence said the child learned a valuable lesson three year ago and she is glad to know the school district has as well. 

"That's somewhere where I'm supposed to think my daughter is going to be safe and I shouldn't have to worry," Lawrence said. "And I now I know she is safe at that school."

The superintendent said they will now look at other ways to make sure every child is accounted for, including photo identification.

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