An almost three-hour search for a kindergartner reported missing from Richland’s Sacajawea Elementary School on Thursday ended after the 5-year-old boy was found in the wrong classroom.
An older student, directed by a school employee, had escorted Antonio Aguilar to the class where he was found about 11:45 a.m., said district spokesman Steve Aagaard.
It was Antonio’s second day at Sacajawea and his lack of familiarity with the building, the daily routine and staff might have contributed to the confusion, Aagaard said. The boy was reunited with his parents soon after he was found.
The district did not release details on how he was discovered after a search of the school at 518 Catskill St. and the surrounding north Richland neighborhood.
Antonio was dropped off at the school by one of his parents and he went to his classroom, officials said.
His teacher took him and the rest of the class for breakfast about 8:15 a.m., and Antonio was seen going through the serving line.
He was noticed as missing when his classmates returned to their classroom at 8:40 a.m. and he wasn’t with them.
Police set up a command station at the entrance of the school as they consulted with school officials and organized a search of the area. Some neighbors volunteered to search nearby streets.
Workers constructing the new Sacajawea school being built nearby stopped working in case Antonio had made it onto the site. “It’s very frightening for the parents and the community,” Richland Police Capt. Mike Cobb said of situations involving missing children. “It’s priority No. 1.”
“It’s always good news when the child is found safe,” Aagaard said.
District officials said they will review their policies when it comes to how students are accounted for in classrooms and other school activities.