SCHERERVILLE | Lake Central School Corp. officials said Monday they will investigate how and why a 10-year-old student walked away from Grimmer Middle School undetected about 1 p.m. Friday.
A bus driver found the fifth-grader miles away about two hours later, walking near Dyer's Bibich Elementary. There are conflicting reports about whether the child's absence was noticed during the rest of the school day and when her family was notified.
The girl's mother, Alexandra Becich, of Schererville, said her daughter left Grimmer between classes because of alleged bullying by several fellow fifth-grade girls that has been ongoing for six months.
"One of the girls threatened to punch her in the face," Becich said. "She's received nasty text messages from these girls."
She said she has talked with the principal, a counselor and the parents of some of the girls.
Becich said her daughter was so upset Friday that she left the school without her backpack, which contained her house key and her cellphone.
Becich said her daughter walked to Becich's Schererville home, but Becich wasn't there. The girl then decided to walk to the home of her father and grandmother in Dyer near Bibich.
That is where a Bibich bus driver discovered her walking and picked her up to take her to the elementary school.
Becich was among four family members who attended Monday's meeting of the Lake Central School Board to ask for an investigation and for more disciplinary action against bullies.
Board President Howard Marshall said the incident "does require an investigation" and asked Superintendent Larry Veracco and his staff to "put their teeth into it."
The girl's parents withdrew her from Grimmer to home-school her for the final seven days of the school year.