Police are searching for an individual who ran off from a juvenile treatment facility in Keymar earlier this month and the state will decide his placement once arrested.
The student at Silver Oak Academy left the facility while students were changing classes, according to Kevin McLeod, executive director.
The name of the individual is not being released for confidentiality reasons, but there is a warrant out for his arrest, said Eric Solomon, spokesman for the Department of Juvenile Services.
"We work with law enforcement right away to get them the information they need," Solomon said.
When a student leaves a facility, the Department of Juvenile Services issues an arrest warrant and a missing persons report, Solomon said. They also notify the public, he said.
DJS notifies the community about the walk-off through email, phone calls and text alerts, Solomon said.
The Maryland State Police is handling the investigation, according to Lt. Patrick McCrory, commander of the Westminster barrack.
This year, two other students attempted to leave the academy and walked off during off-site athletic events. Both were brought back to the campus and completed the program, McLeod said.
In 2012, the academy had two students run away from off-site events and no runaways from the campus.
The Department of Juvenile Services assesses each youth to determine where the individual will be placed based on their needs and security level, Solomon said.
Silver Oak Academy is a staff-secured, licensed group home with no locks or fences. Staff cannot force students to stay, McLeod said.
Juveniles at Silver Oak are not court-ordered to a specific facility; they are court-ordered for placement in a treatment facility with a specific security level, Solomon said.
Walk-offs at Silver Oak are isolated instances, and while they can't force the juveniles to stay on campus, the staff works to make sure they do, Solomon said.
"It is normal for these students to come into the program and miss their home and family," Solomon said. "Silver Oak offers a tremendous amount of programming, education and activities for each youth. This keeps the students busy throughout the day and allows them to build a trustworthy relationship with the staff and their peers."
According to Solomon, when a runaway is found, they are placed back into detention and DJS reassesses the proper treatment for the person.