STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A young boy “managed to escape” from the special needs socialization program he attends in Pleasant Plains on Thursday and was later seen walking over a highway overpass and in the middle lane of a busy service road, according to video, photos and messages posted to social media.
The program, Kids Connect USA, which teaches social-skills classes to children with autism, pervasive developmental disorders, ADHD and who have social anxiety, posted a statement on the incident on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon. The message was no longer publicly visible Thursday night.
“…A child with a 1:1 managed to escape. Thank God the child was found safe and unharmed. We take full responsibility for this situation,” said the post.
The phrase 1:1 is a reference to an individual paraprofessional.
They added that they have “terminated” the child’s teacher for failure to follow protocol.
“We will be taking additional safety precautions including but not limited to the installing of alarm units on every door.”
It is unknown how the child managed to leave the building, but a five-second video clip posted to social media shot from inside a vehicle shows the boy wandering unattended in the middle of a three-lane service road.
Car horns can be heard, as the boy briefly halts traffic and looks over his shoulder.
Eventually, he made his way to an overpass at Veterans Road East and Englewood Avenue near the Korean Veterans Expressway. Pictures posted to Facebook by another witness show three NYPD police officers talking to the boy as he sits on the ground.
Kids Connect USA said they are continuing to investigate the matter, according to the Facebook post.
Messages left at the program were not immediately returned.