Imagine arriving to pick up your child from summer camp only to find out the child is not there, and nobody at the camp even knew it.
That’s exactly what one Bay Area family says happened at a day camp in Menlo Park, and they say the camp’s response hasn’t done enough to explain it or keep it from happening again.
Camp Galileo says it's been in business 18 years, and nothing like this has ever happened before. Parents say it should never happen.
Sherine Khalil and her husband were hoping their 5-year-old son would spend part of his summer break at Camp Galileo, but now they say he’s never going back. When Sherine arrived to pick him up on the first day, the counselors couldn’t find him.
"A counselor came out, was checking the roster, was looking at it; they looked up at me," Sherine said. "I walked over and said 'Is there a problem?’ They said, 'No,' and then they walked away."
The camp operates out of Hillview Middle School, with other locations across the Bay Area and in Southern California. The camp’s founder and CEO admits the boy wandered a few blocks away through an open gate while he was outside for an activity. And nobody saw it.
"We couldn’t be more sorry that this happened," said Glen Tripp, founder and CEO of Galileo Learning. "This is absolutely inexcusable. This is a failure to implement the ways that we have set up our camp; it was a failure to deliver on the safety protocols that we put into place."
As Sherine waited outside the camp that day, she got a call from her husband. He said the police had just called him and told him two good Samaritans found his son at an intersection.
Sherine was confused and angry.
"It’s the camp’s responsibility, the adults, and the training and supervision that’s supposed to be in place. And it wasn’t in place," she said.
Sherine shared her story on Facebook, where it’s now been shared more than 800 times.
The camp’s founder says they’ve fired the camp director and hired six people in bright vests to stand at all the entrances and exits to the school’s campus. Plus, they've marked the boundaries with orange cones and retrained staff regarding safety.
Camp Galileo also said it's working with a security company to see where it can make even more changes.
The camp said it sent out a letter to parents explaining the incident and the safety changes it has made.