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School Sends 5 Year Old Home With a 'Stranger'

Posted by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 11:12 AM
  • 9 Replies
Posted by Jeanne Sager
on March 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM

walking home from schoolSo picture this. Your 5-year-old child has just been signed out of school by a total stranger. You're hyperventilating right now, right? Hold on there partner, it's about to get worse. That stranger is 8 years old. And the school says your kid didn't think that 8-year-old was a stranger at all.

OK, I don't know about you, but I'd be having a supersized fit with a double order of "OMFG, I'm gonna scream" on the side. But Mary Allen, a mom who has actually had this happen to her with her little boy, Maurice, in a New Jersey school district, actually made me laugh. When the school told her the kids knew each other, her response was:

I said, "Maurice knows the guy from McDonald's! He calls him his brother! He's five!"

Yup. Sounds like a 5-year-old! You can teach them all about stranger danger, but they still don't know the difference between acquaintance and friend.

My child knows a lot of people. The nice lady who gives her pretzel sticks at the post office. The guy at the movie theater who chats me up while he sells me our tickets because we used to work together. The guy who makes the "best grilled cheese ever" at our favorite deli.

All very nice people. But if they picked her up from school, I would be ... weirded out? To say the least?

The fact is, there are very nice people who we meet every day. But that doesn't make them "spend time with my kid material." Some just have no experience with kids. Some have no sense of what it takes to hang out with our particular kids. And some are just ... a wee bit odd for whatever reason or another. They're the type you invite to the summer barbecue, but you keep an eye on just in case.

In Mary Allen's son's case, there were plenty of red flags. The person signing her out wasn't on Mary's approved list (most schools have one these days), and she was, um, 8 years old! But I could see a school secretary, completely frazzled, who sees a little kid clinging to Auntie So and So saying, "OK, yeah, just let it pass." But I'm going to say something that may make a lot of parents cringe: you just can't trust little kids. They think everyone is their friend.

In fact, I have a recurring nightmare that my 5-year-old goes to college (don't ask) and is paired up with a horror of a roommate. We're talking Single White Female type. But my 5-year-old just goes along, hunky dory, thinking the roommate is her best friend. Because my 5-year-old is still young enough to see the good in people. A girl told her, "I'll be your best friend if you give me your Silly Bandz" a few months ago, and she came home on top of the world that she'd made a new best friend. I almost didn't have the heart to break the truth.

I still think the school was dead wrong here, and I feel for Mary Allen. But schools need to listen to what she's saying -- everyone your 5-year-old meets is a potential friend. It's a blessing -- what a friendly kid! -- and a curse.

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 11:12 AM
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by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 12:34 PM

 How in the world was an 8 yo allowed to sign anyone out of school?  That shouldn't even be possible

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 12:58 PM

 my sisters child was sent home with the step mom this was okay and planned BUT the school did not know it was okay and did it anyway.  he went to school at age 6 with his note from his mom per school policy about her picking him up (different last names btw step mom kept her maiden name) Step mom walked into office said I am here for alex .... they said okay called him from class (yea mid day too) and handed him over did not ask her who she was anything YET the school has a policy stating id is required at the door yadada. she thought wow thats weird then she looked in his book bag and saw the note.. called him mom at work. she called the school asked if he was there and that she would be there soon school kinda freaked as they did not know where he was or who he was with :( then of course she told them what was up and went off. 

this same kid at a new school at age 7 his first day new school new town lived there about a week was put on wrong bus school has no idea where he was when he did not come home thought he left walking.... my other sister went looking for buses (she was young no kids didnot know she was doing something she prob should of been at the time) kept pulling them over (every one she saw with the schools name) pulled in frt stopping them so they cant pass getting out and going ONTO yes ONTO the buses told dr she looking for her nephew ... yep she found him on the 2ed bus she was ADMITTED ONTO :( and took him... dr was like oohh I was trying to find where he went and about to call the school ummm his time to be at home was 1 hour and 10 min before this...  

MY dd at age 5 broke her coller bone at school they called my house NOT my cell left NO message.. two min later TWO not called me who was 5 min from the school. anyway called my moms house MY sister (17 yr old) ans said oh I am the aunt I will come get her assuming they actaully tried me... sent her BOYFRIEND in (17 yr old) to get her NO id no nothing they called me when they got to the school ( yea prob should of sooner but 17 no kids thought school really could not find me or something) I was at home she told me how he went in got her NO id no thing and she knew that was fed up. I then called the schoool and told them I was on my way to get her (YEA they DID not leave me a message either when they called my house the one time). they said she left (duh) with who? umm your mom is who we called told them shes at work ?? then about after being on hold for 6 min came back and said they released her to her father ummm NO then well they heard an earfull.. along with the superintendent and everyone I knew...

IT happens.. ohh have a friend THIS one not send kid home wrong or lost but still F****ED UP : who last year her 14 yr old dd broke her arm in a first period gym class they left her in the nurses office until 6th period because that is when someone had time to call her mom yes she asked to use the phone they said students cant and they did not allow cells in the building at that time so hers was left at home.... (never again after that though was it...)


by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

I would have lost it at the school. I hope the person who let the 8 year old check out the other child lost their job. How would that person feel if that was their kid and someone was that irresponsible with their child's safety and protection.tsk tsk

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

An 8 year old signing out a kid and the school lets it happen? Huh??

Years ago, I was the emergency contact for my friend's 3 kids. I had to go pick up her daughter one day from high school and I had to fight the secretary to release her to me (it wasn't until she called her mother that they finally let her go). I mean I was on the card, I had my driver's license for identification (which she never bothered to ask for--which would have saved a ton of trouble). But an 8 year old walks into this school and signs out a 5 year old? Now that's messed up.

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Makes no sense. The School is definitely in the wrong. They shouldn't be releasing Kids to anyone other than the Parents/Guardians--or anyone that the Parents haven't listed on the "Permission List".

I'd be raising some serious hell.

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by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:33 PM

this is just crazy.

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM
I can't even get on campus without a vistors pass on any of my kids school campuses, and to check my 5th grader and my HS'er out I have to show my ID. This was slightly amusing as far as the kids go, but as for the adults and school how irresponsible can you be.
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by Lisa on Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM
Yet another reason I'm glad my kids will be homeschooled.
The school lost my nieces once and didn't bother to call me. Actually, the bus forgot to stop at their stop and didn't bother to tell anyone. They just kept them on the bus for the high school route.
The same school almost wouldn't release my nephews to me! I picked them up just as they were getting on the bus and the teacher was too lazy to go check the list of people who are ok to take them home so she told me they would have to ride the bus anyways. Umm... No. The bus will take them to my house and nobody will be there!
Finally one of the teachers I know really well vouched for me and the fact that they are my nephews and are with me a lot and she let them go. But then she tried to stop me from taking my niece (not related to them) and I told her "her mom is right there if you want to ask her permission" and she dropped it. And yes, sil was there. I had bumped into her and she was taking her son to the er so I offered to watch her daughter.
Yet other times I have gone and picked up kids and I don't even know if I am on the list but they let me take them!
It's all a mess.
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by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 4:46 PM

hopefully they've learned something from this

Quoting malibumom1:

I would have lost it at the school. I hope the person who let the 8 year old check out the other child lost their job. How would that person feel if that was their kid and someone was that irresponsible with their child's safety and protection.tsk tsk

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