STERLING, CT (WFSB) - A great-grandfather took home the wrong child from school in Sterling last week, and in response to the incident, parents were updated on the pick up policy during a meeting Tuesday night.
According to school officials, the man picked up a 5-year-old boy from the Sterling Community School, put the child in his car and drove him home. The problem was the child wasn't his great-grandson.
During an emergency meeting hosted by the Sterling Board of Education, the boy's mother held back tears as she recounted what happened.
"My son goes with the man walking out the front doors of our school," said Angela Stone, the child's mother.
She said the man's family called the school to say the wrong child had been brought home and the secretary told them to bring that child back.
In the meantime, Stone said the principal called her.
"He informs me that our son was taken mistakenly home," Stone said. "He reassures me that he knows the man and our son is safe."
Stone said the school should have done more.
"My husband and I feel that at this point the police needed to be notified," she said.
Her anxiety and fear turned into rage when that didn't happen. She said police and the Department of Children and Families only investigated at her request.
"Ms. Klebart and Mr. Musumeci have proven themselves incompetent leaders of our school," said Stone.
Joseph Musumeci is the principal of the Sterling Community School. Rena Klebart is the superintendent of the district.
Stone told the Board of Education Tuesday night that she has no confidence in school leaders because school pickup has always been a problem.
However, Klebart said student safety is a priority.
The superintendent met Monday with the parents of the students involved.
"We are very concerned with their safety and we want to be sure parents feel secure, students feel secure," Klebart said.
The Sterling Public Schools pickup policy states students must have a note naming the adult picking them up. The adult must show identification prior to pickup.
On Tuesday, Eyewitness News saw there was three new designated pickup zones:
- Pre-K to kindergarten
- Grades 1 and 2
- Grades 3 to 8
According to Klebart, the unidentified great-grandfather, who was picking up his great-grandson, took home a child with a similar hat. The child he picked up had the hat pulled down over his head.
"They'll learn from us firsthand what we have done to address their concerns and a better sense of where we are moving forward as a school district," Klebart said.
Getting into the school has not changed. A visitor still has to be buzzed to get through the front door, sign in and receive a visitor badge.
"Its awful what happened," said Andrew Hadfield, who is a Sterling parent. "I know the parents. If it was her, I would have been upset."
Stone said she wants something to be done right away.
"I am demanding that immediate disciplinary action be taken against administration," she said.
Stone was grateful her son was OK, but said this 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," Stone explained. "Especially during parent pick up and bus dismissal time."
The school board said it was reviewing school security procedures.