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Minnesota teacher suspended after 5-year-old wanders away

November 16, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A St. Paul kindergarten teacher will face a five-day unpaid suspension after one of her 5-year-old students was found wandering nearly a mile from the elementary school.

Como Elementary teacher Angela Birchland told investigators that the boy may have walked out of school on May 7 while students were preparing to go home, The Pioneer Press reported .

Birchland has been working for the school district since 1998 and has never been disciplined before. She declined to comment to the newspaper.

Birchland told investigators that she usually relies on her educational assistant to watch students in the hallway near the end of the school day.

The school’s discipline letter said Birchland initially disregarded a teaching assistant’s request to contact the school office after she noticed the boy was missing.

“Your failure to follow basic standards and protocols of students’ attendance and provide active supervision ... put the student at risk of serious harm,” reads the letter, signed by Assistant Superintendent Andrew Collins.

A local resident found the child wandering alone and called police. The resident waited with the boy for about 30 minutes before the school district called the police about a missing student, police records show. The child was then taken back to the school.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

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