Maspeth mom looking for answers after kindergartner leaves school unnoticed

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THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

School officials did not know that Angelo Geremia, 5, left school and walked home.

Five-year-old Angelo Geremia pushed open his school doors, walked home in the pouring rain with no coat, and nobody noticed.

“I just don’t understand what happened,” said his mother, Georgina Geremia. “Something upset him to make him leave, and no one was watching him.”

Geremia got a call on Wednesday, February 27, from her neighbor who told her that little Angelo was outside his house, screaming to be let in. She estimates it took him about 20 minutes to walk from his school, P.S. 229, to their home on 62nd Street. An extra ten minutes that he was trying to get inside leaves 30 minutes that the five-year-old was unaccounted for.

Geremia had to call the school and tell the principal herself that her son had walked out.

“I asked what can [the principal] do to guarantee that this won’t happen again. She told me she can’t guarantee it won’t,” she said.

For the roughly 1,400 kids in P.S. 229, there is one security guard and no cameras. How the kindergartner got out of the school is still not clear. He said he went out the front door, but school officials said he went out the back door.

He also said he was upset he got a time-out, but school officials said he left after a trip to the bathroom. However, at any given moment, an aide should be watching the students, Geremia said.

Geremia said the school’s principal, Dr. Sibylle Ajwani, was apologetic. But there has been no answer as to what consequences are coming for the aide who dropped the ball, she said.

“If something would have happened to him, then what?” she asked. “Somebody went to work that day and just didn’t do their job.”

The Department of Education (DOE) and P.S. 229 did not return calls for comment.