Sara Tavares, from Florida, says she is “furious” after she organised for her son, Joey Hoffman, to be picked up by his grandmother, but instead he was found by a school resource officer wandering alone for close to an hour.
"I mean, I'm so -- I'm still shaking about it," she told WFTV News.
"(I felt) sheer panic and terror. (I was) scared to death. No one knew where he was. No one had a clue," she said. "Anything could have happened. Come on now. (For) an hour he's been walking around Tildenville looking for our house."
When the officer did finally locate the boy, he said he thought he was in trouble.
"The cop found me," said Joey. "I thought I was going to jail."
The incident occurred on Joey’s third day of school, despite his grandmother, Larianne Warner, planning to meet him in the same spot they had met the previous two days – a plan they say was clearly communicated with the boy's teacher.
"That would be the third time I would have picked him up in front of the office," Ms
Warner said. "That was our designated spot. She knows I want to pick him up myself right there by the office."
A spokesperson for Orange County Public Schools says there was a breakdown in communication and that Joey was mistakenly listed as a “walker” and was sent out the door with the other walkers.
“The incident serves as a reminder for all parents to have clear communication with their children and teachers about what should happen before and after school,” the spokeswoman told WFTV.
According to WFTV the Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show that 22 sexual offenders or sexual predators live within a 2-mile radius of the boy's school.