Parents say student with special needs found outside of Smithfield High School


SMITHFIELD, Va. (WAVY) — Isle of White County Schools is investigating an incident where parents say a student with a developmental disorder was allegedly seen outside the school alone.

Just after noon on Wednesday, parent Billy Forbes and parent Joel Acree met for the first time.

Acree wanted to thank Forbes in person, for keeping his son Brennan safe.

Acree says his son goes to Smithfield High School and has a developmental disorder called Williams syndrome, and loves to be outdoors.

That’s where Forbes says he found Brennan on Wednesday, only he tells 10 On Your Side the boy was alone, not supervised.

He says he’s spotted Brennan outside three other times before this incident. 

“About 6 weeks ago, I was dropping my daughter off at like 8:20 and I know school starts at 7:30 and I happened to see this young man out in the parking lot where the parked cars were, and he was talking and it didn’t feel right,” Forbes said. 

He says he also saw the boy outside near a small garden a few weeks later and then again by a nearby road.

Forbes says each time he’s called the school, but this time took it a step further, posting a picture of Brennan on social media, hoping to get in contact with the boy’s parents.

Shortly after, Brennan’s father saw the post.

“Usually I don’t check my messenger on Facebook all that much, but somehow, I looked down at my phone, which is unusual, and I looked and opened it up and it was a picture of my son,” said Joel Acree

Acree says he contacted the school immediately and headed up there.

“I was aware my son works the gardens there out front and really enjoys that, but what was concerning is was people were contacting me they were saying there were some other occasions where he had been found outside or out in the perimeter of the school,” said Acree.

Acree says he’s been in contact with the superintendent and board members and is hopeful this won’t happen again.

He’s also forever thankful to Forbes.

“I was born in this community and raised in this community and today was one of examples of the community coming together looking after each other and looking after each others children,” said Acree.

Brennan’s father says even though it was a scary situation, in the end he feels like there was a positive outcome.

10 On Your Side has reached out to Isle of Wight school district twice and was told they are still investigating this incident.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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