BROOKSVILLE, Fla - Mother of two, Kimberly Eisenhart, expected January 10 to be like any other day.
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She dropped her son, Nick, 6, off at Brooksville Elementary School and headed to work. Nick would be picked up by his daycare bus after school and she would pick him up after she clocked out.
Nick didn't make it onto the bus but into a stranger's arms.
"My heart was literally coming up out of my throat," explained Eisenhart.
The kindergartner managed to leave school grounds unnoticed even though there were two adult supervisors in charge of making sure he got on the bus.
There were also other supervisors out directing traffic.
Two miles, a major highway and 90 minutes later, a woman saw Nick walking and stopped her car. Nick was crying and shaking, according to his mom. Thankfully, the woman had good intentions and asked Nick if he knew his mother's phone number.
The woman phoned Eisenhart.
"It was scary. I was an emotional wreck," Eisenhart added.
ABC Action News searched the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's sex offender registry and found that there are 53 registered sex offenders in the area Nick walked through.
Principal Jill Renihan declined to comment on camera but told ABC Action News via phone there is no excuse for what happened and that it was also terrifying for faculty.
She says one person normally on duty was not there, Nick's daycare van was late, and that Nick looks older than his age and was more easily able to blend in with older students permitted to walk home.
"Those are all excuses. Trying to blame a 6-year-old. We are the adults. We tell this kids where to go, what to do," Eisenhart added.
However, there is still a procedure in place that should have prevented Nick from leaving campus. Per protocol, all students who have written permission to walk home by a parent or guardian are issued an orange card that they must show a supervising adult before they step foot off campus.
Renihan said with it being second semester, the procedure has become more routine and supervisors are not as vigilant because they've come to know the students that walk home each day.
She added that Nick is now being walked by hand to the bus every day and faculty is stepping up enforcement.
Nick's mom says she doesn't want this happening to any other student and wonders how safe the other children are that are not being escorted by hand to the bus.
"What about the other children? At least my child came home," Eisenhart questioned.
Eisenhart has filed a police report and investigators are working to determine if there is enough evidence file negligence charges.
She also plans on taking her concerns to the school board.
Roy Gordon, manager of communications for the Hernando County School County School District, released the following statement regarding the incident:
"While there is a rigorous set of procedures and protocol in place for the dismissal of students at Brooksville Elementary School, a series of events and a brief lack of vigilance allowed a young student to join "walkers" in leaving the campus when his daycare bus was late in arrival. The incident is a reminder that safety a nd security of each of our students is paramount. It serves to illustrate the importance of having all staff follow the procedures that have been established and that students are regularly reminded of those rules put in place for their protection."