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Chesterfield mom cited after 4-year-old son found alone at school playground

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield mother said she was issued a citation for child neglect after her four-year-old son was found alone on the Bellwood Elementary School playground. The mother, whose name is not being reported because she said she is fleeing an abusive relationship, admitted her son got out of the house and walked through a fence onto school grounds. She said she made the mistake of telling him they were going to the playground, and when she went upstairs to get ready, the child got a head start without her knowing.

"He got out when I was getting ready to take him to the park," the mother said. "He has ADHD, so he does what he wants."

School officials said the child was alone at the Bellwood Elementary School playground for 20 minutes during last Friday's daytime incident. The family's home borders the Chesterfield elementary school.

The mom said she was a single mom who is going to school and working two jobs to make ends meet. WTVR CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said that information will come into play when the case goes to court.

"Her attorney will bring out the fact that it's relatively a safe neighborhood, that the child is hyperactive," Stone said. "If that's the case, it's not as negligent as it seems on the surface. The fact of the matter is, no matter how great a parent you are, you can't be on your kids 100 percent of the time."

The mom said she has learned from this experience. She said she would not let her son out of her sight.

"When I go to the bathroom, I take him with me.  I take a shower, I sit him in the corner," she said.  “I don't want to, but I also don't want him running loose again."

If convicted, the mother could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.