ELK GROVE —
Sparkling Spiderman backpacks and ruby-red slippers — all the trappings of the first few days of kindergarten litter one Sacramento 5-year-old’s floor.
But that 5-year-old, Ripley, would need much more than a click of her heels to get home Monday.
“I don’t wish this on any parent … this nightmare. I thought it was a bad bad dream. I was helpless,” said Ripley’s father, Nelson Singh.
That’s the fear and despair Singh was left with when his daughter wasn’t with Ms. Roschak’s class at 2:30 p.m. — dismissal time for his kindergartner at Charles Mack elementary school, which in in the Elk Grove Unified School District.
After this emotional incident he wanted little Ripley’s face concealed, but her story told.
Mrs. Singh was the first to ask where her daughter was after all the other young students had gone home.
“She goes up to her teacher and says ‘Where’s Ripley?’ and her teacher says she might be in the classroom … looked … no Ripley,” he said.
While Singh says he was surrounded by confusion and none of the “release only to approved persons” protocols in the student handbook were followed, he did the only think he could think of — he shouted out the description of the Batman T-shirt and blue and yellow shorts his daughter was wearing.
That caught the attention of a mom driving by who led the Singhs back to something she’d spotted — their little girl.
She’d been seen several blocks away from school in the company of what Singh says were several sixth-grade boys at one of their homes.
No one seems to know how long Ripley was away from campus.
“From what my daughter says, she left hand-in-hand with these boys. I have no idea who they were,” Singh said.
“When I confronted them with what my daughter told me, they said we go to Charles Mack, and we took her here.”
Nelson Singh says that confession came after the boys originally lied to him about being Mack students.
Elk Grove Unified police investigated this incident.
By phone, District Spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton told FOX40 she couldn’t confirm where Ripley was found, but that any involvement of sixth-grade boys was “unfounded.”
She also said Ripley simply got into the wrong dismissal line, and that her teacher first noticed her missing.
Nelson Singh says that story simply isn’t true.
“You think you can trust your child at school with people that are in charge, but you really can’t,” he said.
Singh says his child will not return to school at Charles Mack.
District leaders have made immediate changes to school dismissal policies.
Now kindergartners will be picked up at their classrooms, instead of at the locked campus gates meant to keep kids from disappearing.