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West Philadelphia mother demands answers after 5-year-old son with autism runs away from school

<i></i><br/>Tatiana Nolley is demanding answers after her 5-year-old son with autism
Lawrence, Nakia

Tatiana Nolley is demanding answers after her 5-year-old son with autism

By Briana Smith

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    PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A mother in West Philadelphia is demanding answers after her 5-year-old son with autism ran away from school.

“I started crying. I’m freaking out. This is my only child,” said mother Tatiana Nolley.

That’s how Nolley reacted when she received a call that her 5-year-old son, Taahir, was missing from school.

Nolley said she dropped him off at West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School around 8:40 a.m. on Monday.

“When I dropped him off, he had to be buzzed in two doors. It’s two front doors, and then he has to be buzzed in again to get on the school side,” said Nolley.

But Nolley said around 9:30 a.m., school leaders told her Taahir ran out the door, and they needed help finding him.

“My son is autistic. He is nonverbal, and they know that,” said Nolley. “So much was going through my head like, ‘I don’t know where my son is.'”

Nolley also questions where her son’s assigned school aide was before he went missing.

Luckily, another mother, Kiana Noland, saw Taahir about a mile away from the school on 63rd and Race streets.

She said he was running in and out of traffic.

“I was scared for him, like I seen two cars almost hit him,” recalled Noland. “Once I pulled over and I’m like, ‘You don’t hear me talking to you? You don’t hear me telling you to stay out of the street?’ When I realized he wasn’t saying anything to me, I’m like, ‘Something is going on.'”

Noland eventually called Philadelphia police, who brought Taahir back to school and contacted Nolley.

The school’s CEO, Dr. Stacy Gill-Phillips, said in a statement the school cannot comment on the student but wrote, “Please be assured that the safety and well-being of our students are our top priorities and we take our role in safeguarding them very seriously. We will continue to monitor our late arrivals and are prepared to refine safety protocols should it become necessary.”

Nolley said she was grateful Noland saved her son.

“I wasn’t even supposed to be in West Philly. I was all the way up here, and God puts you in certain places for certain reasons,” said Noland.

“A big thanks to her because my son is still here, and he is still happy in life. I’m very grateful for her,” said Nolley.

Nolley said Taahir won’t be returning to school.

Action News reached out to the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, but a spokesperson could not confirm or deny its involvement due to confidentiality laws.

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