Young brothers walk home alone in after school mix-up

GERMANTOWN (WPVI) -- The School District of Philadelphia is investigating after brothers, ages 3 and 4, walked more than a half mile home alone.

4-year-old Tevin Whitehead Jr. held his little brother Tabron's hand Monday afternoon as the two walked home, crossing busy streets along the way.

When asked about knowing how to read traffic signals, Tevin of Germantown said, "The red light means stop and the green light means go."

The boys' father, Tevin Sr., was shocked when the doorbell rang and his sons were on the doorstep.

"They said to me, 'Daddy, we walked home.' So I looked left and I looked right, and I am looking around to see - did they really walk home by theirself?"

The boys attend a pre-k program at Wister Elementary. Afterschool, the boys get picked up by a church day care. When that employee arrived for the pickup on Monday, the boys were nowhere to be found on school property.

"It was a mix-up, and I am just wondering how did they lose a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old?" said Rakida Brown, the boys' mother.

Lisabeth Marziello, the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia, spoke to Action News Thursday.

She said, "Our staff walk to Wister Elementary School daily, to walk kids from the school to the Club so they are safe. When our staff were walking out of the auditorium they noticed the two boys following the group- when they got outside in front of the school, the two boys walked away from the group onto the playground. Our staff immediately walked over to the boys and asked them if they were supposed to be with the Boys & Girls Club. The Boys said "No". Still in front of the school- our staff walked the Boys back into the school and into the auditorium with the school staff and where they would be safe. We never took the kids nor did we remove them from the property- our staff actually tried to stop the kids from leaving- and brought them back into the school where they belonged."

The district said they were frantically looking for the boys, but never saw them returned to the school.

The next anyone can account for the kids is they were on the doorstep of their own home - blocks away. Luckily, safe and sound.

"This shouldn't have happened. This shouldn't have happened," Rakida said.

On Wednesday, the Boys and Girls Club issued two statements.

The first read:

"We are still investigating what happened at Wister Elementary School. The children involved were not Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia members and were not enrolled in Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia programming. We do not know why they were outside. We nevertheless tried to help them and we are cooperating with authorities. Thank goodness they are safe."

The second read:

"These youth were not members of the Boys & Girls Club, they were not enrolled in the Boys & Girls Club and they were not participants in our program. We were happy to hear that the kids are safe. As advocates for youth, we are always concerned for the safety and wellbeing of all children."

The school district is investigating and strengthening its policies and procedures.
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