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Elementary student found walking, blocks away from school

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CANAJOHARIE -- An elementary school student was found walking down the sidewalk blocks away from school - during school hours - on Monday in Canajoharie, by a city worker in the right place at the right time.

Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan McFadden says a DPW worker called him when he spotted the girl.

"I was driving alongside of her talking to her and she gave me her name and stuff and I said where are you going and she said her home address," MacFadden said.

He says the girl told him she had to go to an appointment. He called East Hill Elementary School, which confirmed the student was supposed to be in school. MacFadden says he brought her back.

"Our procedures have been in place for a long time and have worked, up until Monday."

Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw couldn't comment on specific students or incidents, but she says the school has procedures for moving students throughout the building - which didn't work properly on Monday, when one of the 470 elementary students walked out without anyone noticing.

"You can't lock doors from the inside, that is a fire safety hazard. All of our exit doors are always locked on the outside, but you can't lock the doors on the inside," Grimshaw said.

Grimshaw couldn't confirm this ever happening before. Some parents told CBS6 they think the school's security is fine, but others say the incident concerns them.

"It's absolutely insane to think that our kids aren't safe in school when we think they're there and they're not, and that nobody even noticed she was missing until she got that far," parent Cara Snyder said.

The school says it recognizes its duty.

"Parents give us their most precious things in the world, their children, and we have a responsibility to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep them safe."

Grimshaw says the school will be altering its policies and procedures.

"I don't think any system would be failproof, although there's always opportunities to review procedures."

A board of education meeting took place Thursday night to talk about changing policies and procedures.

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