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A 3-Year-Old Boy Attending Roma Court Academy Wanders Into Traffic as Staff Is Oblivious

| September 23, 2016

roma court academy

Roma Court in a file picture. (© FlaglerLive)

A woman driving on Palm Coast Parkway was startled to find a 3-year-old boy wandering unattended, in traffic this afternoon around 1 p.m. She stopped and took care of the child until cops arrived: the boy had left of Roma Court Academy, the child care and pre-kindergarten center at Roma Court, and school personnel was unaware of his disappearance until they got a call about it.

Jim Troiano, the sheriff’s office’s chief spokesman, said the matter could have had a much worse ending but for the quick reactions of two good Samaritans: the first to call the academy was a Chinese food delivery driver, who spotted the child moments before the other driver stopped and took care of him.

“They didn’t know he was missing until they got a call from a Chinese food delivery driver in the area, he saw the boy unattended, he called, they began looking for him, and while they were looking for him is when the lady found him,” Troiano said.

Allie Strubble subsequently wrote on her Facebook page: “Driving down the parkway today and all of a sudden a 3-4 year old boy runs out from a daycare right into the road, all alone. Myself and three others stop to help and call 911 as a stranger holds someone’s precious child on the side of a busy street.”

The boy is from Ormond Beach. He claimed his father was in the hospital and he wanted to be with him, an account Troiano said appears not to have been backed up by any evidence gathered: the investigating deputy spoke with the father, who described his son as chronically adventurous and prone to such escapes. The father compared his son to a raccoon, according to Troiano, who was basing his account on notes from the investigating deputy.

The boy had ben attending Roma Court Academy for just two days. The incident unfolded as a group of children were about to be taken from one area of the school to another. Just at that moment, Troiano said, a child fell and drew the attention of a teacher. That’s when the 3 year old unlatched a gate and got out.

The sheriff’s office is not pursuing the case further, finding no criminal or intentional negligence on the part of the school. The boy, Troiano said, “capitalized on an opportunity that was presented to him.” Should that opportunity have been there at such a school? “Absolutely not,” Troiano said. But, he added,  “it was an unintentional act. This certainly could have ended in much diff circumstances, the child could have been hit by a car, the child could have been abducted, the child could have wandered out into the woods and drowned.”

But good people intervened, Troiano said. “It gets back to that concept, see something, say something,” he said. “Had it ended differently, well that’s something we would have had to look at.”

Mark Aitchison, director of Roma Court Academy, could not be reached this afternoon. The school issued a statement on the incident, first reported by the Observer, though the statement shed little light on why the child could have wandered out: the school took no responsibility for the incident, offered no apology or regret, and went so far as to suggest that, despite requiring the involvement of public safety agencies and others, the school had no further responsibility to explain the incident than it did in the statement.

The statement read: “An incident involving a child occurred today at RCA. The child is perfectly fine and unharmed. The appropriate authorities have been notified, and RCA is complying with all obligations under controlling law and rule regarding the incident. RCA is meeting all requirements to report the facts of this incident timely, fully and truthfully to the appropriate authorities. It is important to note that this incident did not arise from any violation of RCA’s duties owed to students, parents or the law. The father of the child has asked that this incident not be further publicized. RCA will honor his wishes.”

13 Responses for “A 3-Year-Old Boy Attending Roma Court Academy Wanders Into Traffic as Staff Is Oblivious”

  1. Tina Woods says:

    I’m sorry, but as a former child care teacher I see all kind of negligence in this case. The parking lot is large the child had to walk several feet before reaching the road and the teacher at no time even noticed the child was missing. When out doors I was always doing head counts. Why isn’t it required to have child proof locks or locks high enough the child can not reach, does that make sense. Roll needs to be taken before leaving the playground and when returning to the class. Yes little ones do run off but if the right safety measures are in place this would not have happened. I feel the law enforcement is being negligent in not investigating further. You can follow minimum licensing standards this does not mean your child is safe while in care. Parents need to ask questions, like how you move children from one area to another, what do you do in case of fire or other emergency. There is more to a child care facility than just looking pretty. Just an opinion. I know I wasn’t there and don’t know the whole story, but a simple lock in a proper place and taking roll would have eliminated the possibility of this even happening.

  2. Concerned Dad says:

    Wow, what an EPIC failure for any daycare operation. The traffic is always 50MPH on PC Pkwy in that area, there are no gates around the building as other businesses operate out of there, not to mention the homeless camp where all the pan handlers you see in the area live is that wooded lot next door (across from the Wendys). I prefered Sunshine academy, in a dedicated facility with their high gates with magnetic locks, camera systems and no kid leaves without a fingerprint scan from an authorized adult. Its your kid, Shop around for your daycare needs!

  3. Unreal says:

    Unacceptable and negligent. Our daughter goes there and we will be taking her out of enrollment ASAP.

    RCA takes no responsability? Sad, they need to grow up.

  4. Kelly Petit says:

    As a childcare worker this is unacceptable. As a parent I would be very upset and as a boss of a teacher who had no idea where this child was is absolutely absurd. Number one rule you count children at all times especially when outside. Someone was not doing the job they were suppose to be doing. I can’t believe that no one is being held responsible at the childcare center. I really hope so women takes this farther either the state or the parents. Next time they might not be so

  5. r&r says:

    They do make fences for playgrounds.

  6. Sue says:

    OK so maybe I am missing something? A child at a daycare facility is LOST on a busy road and they did nothing wrong? I could go on and on as I have four children and have worked in a school for young children. Was DCF notified? I would have my child out of there immediately… excuse for something like this to happen!

  7. Old Lady says:

    Oh, boggle my little mind, the lights on, but nobody’s home

  8. Layla says:

    I wonder if anyone realizes they have been given a second chance, which unfortunately many little children have not.

    LOCK those gates next time. You have precious cargo on board!

  9. Anonymous says:


  10. Oh WOW says:

    Are you serious. The parent entrusts the Daycare with their child and he is running out in the road. WTF

  11. Maiden says:

    Are you kidding? Took no responsibility? BEWARE Parents and get your kids out of there. HOw does a 3 yr old wander off and nobody notices.
    Whoever was watching this child s/b fired immediately.

  12. Nel says:

    And this place gets paid to watch kids? The director certainly knew how to use “lawyer speak”.

  13. Notforthebulls* says:

    They are very unorganized the children still get lost inside the school but they fire people to hide it. The workers are overworked & underpaid which is not good for any buisness.
    Never work here just run the owner & director are lazy and non chalant about everything. It’s a roach infested mess .Please it’s so disgusting don’t send your children here you’ll regret it. Mark is the owner & Jennifer is basically his sidekick.RUN . RUN . RUN . I tell you !!!!!!!!!! Go anywhere but here people I don’t care where it is . I’ve witnessed children attempt to eat roaches because they don’t know any better especially when its mixed in the food.When DCF comes everybody has to be on top of everything so they hide all their screw ups I’m convinced
    they have a good lawyer & someone from DCF on their side .Otherwise the school would be shut down already.

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