Winnipeg mom wants answers after boy requiring special support wanders from school

A nine-year-old was found without a coat near his school by two teens who recognized something was wrong. Now, his mother is publicly thanking the youth and raising questions as to why her son was allowed to leave. Morgan Modjeski reports.

A Grade 4 student who needs special support wandered unsupervised from a Windsor Park school – in the Winnipeg cold – and the boy’s mother wants to know how it happened.

Jayce Meyer-Elias, 9, is said to left the grounds of Frontenac School on Monday without being followed by the staff member assigned to watch him.

His mom, Tamara Elias, was driving down Autumnwood Drive towards the school when she saw her son, who she thought was safe inside.

“As any parent, it was scary to see your child standing on the side of the road when he was supposed to be in school,” Elias said.

Winnipeg mom Elias Tamara (right) with her nine-year-old son Jayce Meyer-Elias. (Morgan Modjeski, CityNews)

The boy was standing with two teenagers. “He has no concept of stranger danger and who is safe and who is not,” his mother said.

Luckily for the boy, those quick-thinking teens were there to help. Elias says the two teens saw the youngster without a coat, and realized something was wrong.

“When I turned around and stopped, I found out one of the teenagers had actually given him his jacket and the other one had phoned 911 to report that he was lost.”

The Winnipeg mom says those teenagers deserve major kudos for stepping up to help. They even asked her questions to ensure she was a safe adult.

While she’ll be forever grateful to the youth — who CityNews are still trying to contact — she says the incident has raised some concerns. Elias has advocated to ensure the boy, who is described as a “flight risk,” is supported and kept safe.

‘What went wrong’

She says what happened Monday is a problem, especially because she wasn’t contacted by the school until after she spoke to 911 dispatchers.

“We had no idea he was missing and he was gone for about 25 minutes at the time we found him,” Elias said.

A statement from the Louis Riel School Division, which Frontenac School is a part of, said it could not comment out of respect for the student’s privacy. It acknowledged the division is aware of the incident, adding the school and parents are “working together for future planning.”

The division said in general, when something like that happens, staff first try to locate the student and alert the parents. If unsuccessful, staff then contact police.

FILE – Frontenac School, part of the Louis Riel School Division, in Winnipeg’s Windsor Park, March 5, 2024. (CityNews)

Louis Riel says all incidents are reviewed “to determine what went wrong and how the situation could be avoided in the future.”

Elias confirmed she’s scheduled to meet with school officials in the coming days to explore solutions. She says she has mixed emotions about whether or not the staff member in question should be disciplined.

“Part of me says ‘yes’ and part of me understands that in a busy moment like that, it’s hard to keep your eyes on a child who is a flight risk at all times,” she explained. “But the protocols are there for a reason, and our expectation is that they’re followed to keep everybody safe.”

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