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Posted: 9:39 p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2014
By Jenna Deery
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A mother is outraged after her 8-year-old child was found wandering along a busy street after she said the YMCA left him alone after soccer practice. A spokesperson said there is an internal investigation underway and they're reviewing their policies so it doesn't happen again. The child’s soccer future at the Stratford Richardson YMCA is in limbo because his mother said she can't trust the people running the program. “If you are not going to look after these kids, why are you saying you are a youth program?” said Niquana Lewis. She said she called a receptionist to tell her that she would be late picking up Jaylon Lewis, but the message never got to the coach. “Jaylon said that his coach told him that it's time to go and you need to go find your mother and left,” Lewis said. With no adult supervision, Jaylon wandered off determined to find his mother. Lewis called police and Jaylon was found walking down West Boulevard. “Luckily we found him because I was in a panic,” the mother said. A spokesperson said the YMCA launched an internal investigation. A staff member has been suspended while protocol is being reviewed. The spokesperson wouldn't go on camera, but sent Channel 9 a YMCA statement. "We will take appropriate action to ensure our child safety procedures are maintained by all Y staff in all situations," the spokesperson said. They also sent their youth sports parent expectations agreement. They said parents sign it stating parents or guardians are required "to remain on site during practices and games." Lewis said she won't the mistake of leaving again. “If he does go back, I will make sure to be there at every practice,” she said. “You can't leave a child out there like that.” The spokesperson said they can understand why Lewis would be upset. She said the YMCA is looking at retraining staff on proper procedures to avoid this situation in the future.
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