School Allows Great-Grandpa To Pick Up Wrong Kid, Insert Your Parental Outrage Here

shutterstock_177190172__1393531957_142.196.167.223A great-grandfather in a small Connecticut town drove to school to get his grandchild and came home with the wrong kid. The boy refused to get out of the car when they finally got to the house, great-granddad’s wife noticed, and he took him back to school. Maybe this man shouldn’t be driving? Certainly he shouldn’t be picking up a grandchild he doesn’t even recognize. Yikes. I’m harping on great-grandpa, but I haven’t even gotten started on the school yet. Isn’t there some sort of security protocol for releasing five-year-olds into the world?

The superintendent of the school claimed the children were wearing similar hats, which caused the mix-up. Well, that explains everything!

The man’s family called the school to explain that the wrong child had been brought home and he was bringing the child back. The principal called the boy’s mother to let her know what happened and that “he knows the man” and her son is “safe.” Can you imagine receiving this call? Hi! We let your son leave school with a stranger who doesn’t recognize his own grandchild, but everything’s cool. He’s driving him back to school. No, we didn’t notify police or anything like that.

The school didn’t notify police. Now, I’m not saying that great-granddad is a criminal – but isn’t there some sort of protocol for notifying authorities when a child is taken off campus – even by accident – by a stranger? Also, if I were those parents I wouldn’t exactly feel safe with my child driving with someone who managed to not notice that he picked up the wrong child. Call me paranoid.

The boy’s mother, Angela Stone, said she was relieved her child was okay but the ordeal was “far from over.”

“This unbelievable and terrifying incident that our family has been through has placed the spotlight on our schools lack of security,” she explained. “Especially during parent pick up and bus dismissal time.”

Agreed. This is terrible.

(photo: Budimir Jevtic/ Shutterstock)

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    • Guest

      I’m not sure why they would call the police unless it was to locate great-gpa or press charges on him. It is beyond stupid that they let the wrong kid go and that Great-gpa is allowed to drive. Reasons why the elderly should have to be re-tested to keep their license.

      • AmazingE

        What I want to know is why the kid didn’t say something to someone at pick up time. Surely even a shy quiet kid would be like”hey, I don’t know this person”, right?

      • Guest

        For some reason, the first time I read the article I was thinking he picked up the wrong sibling so I at least understood going with Gpa. The fact that it was entirely a different kid is like sweet jesus.
        As a very shy kid I know I would have just planted my feet and refused to move or said something like “who are you?” loud enough to get the office folks involved.

      • Guest

        Follow up questions: was this end of day? Because I’m just trying to picture how someone didn’t have to call the kid by his name or bring him to the office to let him get picked up by Gpa at that age. Lots of balls dropped.

      • Angela

        I wondered this too. I can’t imagine that my 5 year old would just go with a stranger without at least asking who he was.

      • ChickenKira

        This. I really don’t understand how this happened from so many different viewpoints.

      • Plonk

        Unfortunately, I believe some children will be too scared or bewildered, especially young ones. I know I wouldn’t have said anything for hours in fear of retaliation, and I had friends who would have been even worse.
        To be fair, we were all being raised in an environment that made us scared and distrustful of adults, and certainly not being taught how to be assertive.
        But yeah, it doesn’t really surprise me. At least that little boy was brave enough to refuse to get out of the car.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I saw a very similar story that blew my mind on Dr. Phil. A grandfather brought home the wrong kid because he couldn’t tell them all apart. In a sense, it made me laugh. But it also made me horrified for the kid’s parents!

    • Guest

      I feel like families should know if Gma/Gpa are fit to be doing this kind of thing- and really need to take responsibility for who they are having come get their kids. I’m paranoid so I think I would only allow myself and my husband unless there were special circumstances.

    • brebay

      Yeah, I’m always randomly coming home with a kid wearing a “similar” shirt!

      • alexandra

        Meh no biggie, you can always swap them back the next day! It’s like WifeSwap but for kiddos!

    • brebay

      Although I have watched the wrong kid for entire swim practices. If you’re a swim mom (especially of a boy, the girls have more variety of suits), you get me. You’re sitting behind glass up in the bleachers; and all the boys are wearing the same cap, similar goggles and some variation of a black suit. Once I was all “Oh, wow, his backstroke has improved so much, I’m so proud of him, I can’t believe how great he looks”….for the entire practice. When he finally got out, I could only tell by his walk that he wasn’t mine. Finally found the right kid…”Oh, there he is…yeah, he still sucks at backstroke.”

      • Andrea

        Ha ha ha ha, we ALL do that!! For summer swim team (which is much more relaxed) we resorted to writing their names on their backs with a sharpie.

      • Alexandra

        Yep, horseback riding is same – my mom and dad used to say we all looked alike with the helmets on!

    • Momma425

      I remember when I was in elementary school, something similar (way less scary) happened. The power was out, and the school sent kids home early. We couldn’t get ahold of my mom (back in the days before cell phones) and a friend’s dad showed up. I knew her, had been to her house, she came to my birthday party- we were friends.
      My mom even knew her parents. She said I could come to her house and play, and so her dad took me and my brother too (because school couldn’t get ahold of mom and we weren’t just going to leave my little brother at school).

      Mom came home, and got a message on the answering machine from my friend’s dad, that we were at their house. Mom was PISSED at the school
      because this friend’s parents weren’t on the emergency list and really didn’t have permission to pick us up from school. In that particular case, it ended up being fine. But really, I could have gone home with anyone from my class or my brother’s class- including parents she didn’t know. Additionally, the dad luckily called her and let her know- but if he hadn’t? I was ten, my brother was seven. We weren’t going to call mom, and she would have had no clue where we were at.

      This situation is even worse and really scary. My daughter’s daycare
      would totally have gotten the smack down from me if some random kid’s great
      grandpa had picked her up. Completely unacceptable!

      • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

        I went home with a family from gymnastics when my mom was late. I was 5. I knew the girl a little and her parents said I could go with them, so they left their contact info at the gym and away we went.
        Mom was none too happy and switched me to a different gym (Which didn’t have a foam pit, so I quit).

      • Muchacho

        If there is no foam pit there is really no point. To this day I want to go back to gymnastics as an adult just to play in the foam pit.

    • K.

      Um, I’m not trying to deflect blame here, but…how old is the kid?

      Maybe M&D want to say, “Gee, son, you shouldn’t get into anyone’s car unless you know them.”

      • Reba

        I put this above but I was that kid once because it was the same car my grandma drove and I was too little to really see inside the car.
        He was probably too freaked out to say anything once he realized bc he’s a little kid

    • Reba

      I got into the wrong car in elementary school because it was the same type of car my grandma drove and I thought it was her. No one said ANYTHING except for the grandparents were like oh honey wrong car. It could have easily been the same thing. That was the early 90s you’d ‘think they’d have figured out a better way, ha ha

    • Kay_Sue

      This just leaves me with so many questions that I don’t really even have any idea where to start asking this.

      At our son’s school, you have to be on the list. If you come to pick a child up, you have to sign in at the front desk, give your name, then present your ID. I actually got turned away once because I was lazy and had not changed my name on my ID to my married name…but had happily put my married name down on the list. And they know me–that’s how crazy strict they are about it. So this is kind of mind-boggling. I could kind of see it maybe happening at our school in the pick up line for car riders, but even that’s far fetched…

      • Valerie

        Yeah, my daughter’s school also has a seriously tight system including the V-Raptor scanner thingie that your license has to go through. I had to jump thru flaming hoops to have my friend pick her up once in an emergency- phone calls, faxed signatures, all kinds of verifying. I know nothing is fool-proof but I do feel pretty good about the measures they have in place.

      • Kay_Sue

        We don’t have a scanner thingie. #jellies

      • SusannahJoy

        Yeah at my parents school they have been known to have to buy their own kleenex. There is no ID scanner.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      When I did daycare, one of the boys I picked up from school did after school activities, and half the time they would just let all the kids run out to the front afterwards and didn’t supervise them at all. I was so glad when he switched schools because the one day he got out and I saw a 6 year old run alone into the front of a school, I could have had a heart attack. Literally anyone could have taken any of those kids.

    • AmazingAsh

      Maybe the grandpas look similar?

      Seriously though, when I picked my 6 year-old niece up, I was pretty horrified. My niece just pointed to me and the school turned her loose. I guess I just go to the worst case scenario, but what if I wasn’t supposed to pick her up? My ex isn’t allowed to pick my child up from day care (he lives in another state), but if he showed up, my son would know him and willingly go with him.

    • MegzWray

      This freaks me the eff out!

    • katie

      no one seems to be questioning why the KID got in a car with someone he didn’t recognize.. before we lynch this old man, lets look at all the responsible parties here. why didn’t that kids parents teach it not to get in cars with strangers? the school and the grandpa aren’t the only ones to blame. yeah, they made a stupid mistake… but the kid was equally as stupid, as were the parents.

    • Marion Wilson

      When I nannied, I once went to pick up the children and one was missing – a little six year old boy. We searched everywhere, and when we couldn’t find him, the principal searched for him, and then the principal went to ring the police. Just as he was about to pick up the phone to ring the police, the office received a phone call from his friend’s mother, who was very confused, saying that he had told her he had permission from his parents to go to her house that day, even though she hadn’t spoken to his mother. In light of my experience, I could easily see this happening – although at most daycare centres I’ve worked with, you have to be on an approved list and sign the children in and out, they do not have this at schools, and most children, even the little ones, meet the parents outside their classrooms, or even out on the street – so really, it would be super easy for something like this to happen in my area.

    • Marion Wilson

      I do think though, I wouldn’t really want a super strict ID system for schools – I think that, at that age, kids are old enough not to accept a lift from some stranger, and it can be an absolute pain in the butt for parents – example: When I nannied, dd’s friend’s mum worked and sometimes couldn’t pick her girl up until late. I didn’t like leaving her there by herself on the playground, so it was far easier to just take her home and focus on ds while the girls played together. I would have felt really super annoyed about having to jump through hoop after hoop just to be able to look after one of my charge’s friends and make sure she was safe.