On its own, the story of a man picking up the wrong kindergartener isn’t that unusual, despite what you’d think reading the parents’ comments. It’s happened before. Guys have picked up the wrong kidlet, only to discover it’s not the right one when the kid says “This isn’t my house,” or the wife screams at the poor dude. What makes this one slightly different is when they found the kidlet, the guy who picked him up just happened to have warrants, so hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to jail he goes. But the arrest had nothing to do with the kid.
I wouldn’t have even thought about posting it, until I read the overreactions of the parents.
“We are scared,” said Edith Oliv, who has a 10-year-old daughter at the school. “Some parents, we have to work, and we come a little late to pick up our kids. It’s too dangerous – I need to come early.”
Maria Rodallegas said she’ll be sure to pick up her 6-year-old son on time. She voiced concerns that parents had not been notified of the incident.
“That’s a problem,” she said. “Nobody called me.”
Rachel Mowatt has a first-grade student at Maple Lawn. She was disturbed that someone could enter the school and take a child without permission.
“It’s just really frustrating when something like this happens,” she said, adding that the district should consider providing identification cards for parents. “Anybody can pose as a parent.”
Mowatt said she’s having second thoughts about signing her child up for an after-school program at the school. “I’m not sure now,” she said.
Yes, let’s wrap our kids in bubble wrap because of one incident that didn’t even end badly. It was the second day of school, so teachers aren’t going to be super familiar with who goes with whom. Mistakes happen. That’s no reason to keep your kids from attending any program because something *might* happen.
And what exactly did Maria Rodallegas want the school to tell her? “A kid has gone missing, but it’s not yours. We’ll keep you up to date.” Yeah, that’s a good idea, and will surely be a helpful step. The school says they’ll send notes home now that they’ve gotten to the bottom of things and actually have something useful to say.
Sure, schools can go ahead and review their policies if they want, but I think part of the responsibility rests with the parents to teach the kids to speak up. When some strange dude tries to take them, teach the kid to say things like “I don’t know you. You’re not my dad.” That should a. stop mr. wrong kid from leaving with the wrong kid, and b. slow down a real abductor and hopefully catch the eye of someone in charge of dismissal.
I’m not saying that the people in charge shouldn’t be careful when the kids are getting dismissed, and I’m not saying that that incident wouldn’t have been scary as hell for those involved. But good god, one incident of mistaken identity shouldn’t be enough to get all the kids locked up in towers to protect them from the big scary man out there.