Grandpa Picks up Wrong Kindergartener and Now Parents Want World to Stop in Its Tracks

Readers — This atahdsbikd
is just a rather perfect illustration of the way our society works now, when it comes to parents, schools,  media, fear, mistakes and, heck, let’s throw in umbrage.

A great-grandpa picked up the wrong kindergartener from school. The two boys had similar hats, and the one gramps took home had his hat pulled all the way over his head. Frankly, I can see how that could happen.

Gramps got home, realized his mistake, alerted the school. The principal called the mom to say her son had been accidentally picked up by the wrong man — someone known to the school — and that the child was not in danger. He was being returned immediately. At which point, the mom insisted that the police and child protective services be notified.


This kind of mistake is not criminal, and it is not harmful to the child. If anything, it could become a family story.

Instead, it became a news story. 

Trained to Overreact

We have been trained, as a culture, to treat every blip in school protocol as an outrage. We have been trained to see every child not directly supervised as in unspeakable danger. We have been trained to imagine what terrible thing COULD happen in any situation involving a child, and to react as if it DID, or almost did. 

So maybe the school should go ahead and make doubly sure the kids are being picked up by the right person. But let’s also remember there was an era not so long ago when no one picked up kids. They just went home on their own. Now the school is establishing pick-up areas for kids through grade 8!

Overreaction breeds overreaction and we are living in Overreaction Nation. – L.  

WFSB 3 Connecticut


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199 Responses to Grandpa Picks up Wrong Kindergartener and Now Parents Want World to Stop in Its Tracks

  1. Z-girl February 27, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    OMG, the media is rabid! The reporting on this was really over-the-top, trying to make the incident appear as dramatic and scary as possible. I want to know why someone from the school or police didn’t just sit this woman down, tell her to take a deep breath, everything is alright, and MISTAKES HAPPEN! As why is the media involved in the first place??

  2. Earth.W February 27, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    I would not have agreed to the mother’s foolish demands.

  3. Earth.W February 27, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    We recently had a bit of a tragedy at a Sydney school. A tree fell on a classroom injuring a teacher and killing a child. In response, the State Government of New South Wales has ordered a check of trees across the State which I view as an over reaction.

    Looking at the comments on a Sydney newspaper’s facebook page, Daily Telegraph, people are calling for rubbish like gum trees being removed from schools, that every building is reassessed every couple years, etc. I suggested that they remove anything and everything that stands above the ground.

  4. Kvirtue February 27, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Our local media had the story. The reporter finished the report rather breathlessly with “there are four sex offenders in the community who could have done the same thing”. No, not really. Irritating. Hyperbolic reporting. And in checking to give a link to the clip, I also see the reporter now has a series on ‘protecting our children from predators’. (

  5. baby-paramedic February 27, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    I got into the wrong car when I was around the same age.
    Grandpa was coming to pick me up from school. Grandpa has a white landcruiser (not a common vehicle at the school pickup). Check.
    School out. I see the white landcruiser. Jump in the back. We start going off. Somewhere along the line (I don’t think we even left the school grounds, but I cannot clearly recall), this grandfather realizes he has the wrong child (I think he called me Sophie and I corrected him).
    Returned to school dropoff.
    Parents find out, I get a tongue lashing about being more careful about whose car I get into.
    No police called, no hysteria. Just a surprised Sophie’s grandfather, and a little girl told to be more careful.

  6. Earth.W February 27, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    When I was four years old, I was picked up from preschool by different people who were friends of the family who also had a child attending there. On one afternoon, nobody took me home as they all thought somebody else was doing that. Then came closing time and I was still there. Somebody came around after ring arounds on the phone.

    I survived. I wasn’t even bothered.

  7. Pophouse February 27, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Has there ever actually been a single case of an abduction from a school pick up, other than the most typical kind of amber alert one hears about where the child is ‘abducted’ by a parent that doesn’t have custody?

  8. Mike in Virginia February 27, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    The parent certainly has reason to be upset at the school because kindergartners need a little bit more hand-holding to make sure they get on the right bus or are picked up by the right person (I was placed on the wrong bus once in kindergarten because the school got me mixed up with another child – long story, but turned out okay). But I really don’t understand what the police or CPS have to do with this.

  9. Alicia February 27, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    Next, they will require kids and parents to wear some type of matching bracelet, like newborns and mothers in the hospital

  10. BL February 27, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    Maybe we can get the UN to lockdown the entire planet.

    You can’t be too careful.

  11. LisaS February 27, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    baby-paramedic’s post raises the question I was thinking about: didn’t the kid realize it was the wrong grandpa? did s/he never say anything? even kindergartners should know who to be with. mine were taught not to leave with anyone besides the usual people without a safety word.

  12. pentamom February 27, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    “baby-paramedic’s post raises the question I was thinking about: didn’t the kid realize it was the wrong grandpa? did s/he never say anything? even kindergartners should know who to be with. mine were taught not to leave with anyone besides the usual people without a safety word.”

    It should have happened that way. It didn’t. In the best of possible worlds, parents will fail to train their kids to be careful enough and adults will make mistakes. No matter what we say “should” have happened, the other thing occasionally will, now and forever.

    But what isn’t acceptable or just one of the vicissitudes of human frailty is treating such lapses as near-criminal incidents.

  13. SOA February 27, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I am going to have to disagree with this one. I mean I would not want the man arrested or anything but it is a big deal. I would not be very happy if some random person picked up my kids from school. Because I don’t know this person. This person does not know my kids. They may not know my son has a peanut allergy and try to give them a peanut cookie and then not have proper education or medication to help him. Stuff like that can be a big deal. Or they may not know my son likes to dart in parking lots and then he gets hit by a car.

    Why is great grandpa picking up a kid anyway? Aren’t they a little old to be responsible for young kids solely? We visit and hang out with Great Grandparents but they would never be asked to be solely responsible for something like picking them up from school and watching them for long periods of time. They are in their 80s/90s they really are not up for that since kids are fast and unpredictable. I know my 90 year old Grandmother could not catch my son if she was watching him and he decided to bolt.

    Reminds me of a woman I met in a mom’s club. She had triplets that were only like 2 years old. She had her grandparents and her husband’s grandparents taking turns watching the kids while the parents were at work. I cannot imagine making people in their 70s and up watching 3 young kids like that day in and day out. Every time I went over there to pick up something for charity or whatever those old people had NO clue what was going on and looked overwhelmed. I just don’t know if that is a good situation.

    Great Grandparents are good for giving the kids cookies and playing cards with them, not being sole caregiver. Just saying. Unless they are young for Great-grandparents. My Grandmother forgets who me and the kids are half the time…..

    So I would not be calling the police or anything, but I would be bitching the school out and raising some heck. Against the school and maybe not the Great Grandpa but the parents and ask why they are not the ones taking care of their kid instead of putting it off on this old man who obviously is over his head.

  14. Warren February 27, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    She is crying while reading from a paper. LOL, this is hilarious.
    Why didn’t someone just stand up and tell her to suck it up, get over it because accidents happen. No harm no foul.

    Parents worst nightmare is their kid being with someone they don’t know? Really Mr. Fear Reporter?

    If anyone is to blame it is the kid for going off with the wrong person, but really who cares.

  15. SnarkyMomma February 27, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Kids freak out when their parents freak out. The mom calling CPS and the cops did nothing to make the situation better for her kid – she probably just made what would have been an amusing story into something far more traumatic.

  16. lollipoplover February 27, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    The channel 3 reporter who starts out with “…every parent’s worst fear, being left with a stranger” needs to stop. No this is not my worst fear, by far. If it was, I wouldn’t dare leave him at school, with a new teacher and school staff. Isn’t the new teacher a stranger?

    I’m not blaming anyone here and I hate the *what could have happened* angle that’s always played, but why didn’t the boy speak up? He gets into the car with a strange man he doesn’t say “Who are you? My ___ usually picks me up. Take me back to school now” to correct the mistake? And I know he’s 5 but this is pretty basic.

    I hate how helpless we treat our kids, like we can mix up these look-alike sacks of mute jelly bundled up in outerwear, strapped into the backseats of our cars. I would be most disappointed if my kid didn’t speak up right away and notice the change in car and driver. Taking all accountability away from the child and heaping it back on people who made an innocent mistake is parenting at it’s worst.

  17. CM February 27, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Seriously? Why did the other child even go with someone they didn’t know? If anyone is to blame, I’d blame the parents of the child dumb enough to walk off with a stranger without saying a blessed thing to the office about how “that’s not my great grandpa”. My kids are little, too, and they know better than to walk off with someone they don’t know. Especially somewhere like school! Good grief parents–teach your kids basic safety so they don’t walk into the world like idiots. And for goodness sakes, don’t over react when great grandpa has to return your kid to school. Things happen. Move on.

  18. SOA February 27, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    I also agree with Lollipop lover. I would be kinda pissed at my kids too like “Have I not taught you well enough not to go off with freaking strangers!?” I would feel like I failed somewhere. I try to teach my kids to speak up and stand up for themselves. I just think the whole situation is nuts. I blame whomever decided it was a good idea to make elderly Great Grandpa pick the kid up more than I actually blame the school. Obviously he did not recognize his own Great Grandchild.

  19. mystic_eye February 27, 2014 at 10:05 am #


    My kids’ great-grandma is the *only* grandparent capable of caring for my kids for more than an hour or two. They have sleepovers at her house. My mother and my husband’s mother can’t cope. A great-grandparent of a kindergartener could easily be as young as 65 (assuming mom, grandma, and great grandma had kids at an average age of 20).

    How about we trust the mother of the child that decided great-grandpa was up for it? Hmm.

  20. Marianne February 27, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    If the school called me and told me my kid had been “picked up” by the wrong grandpa I would absolutely FREAK at first. But once alls well that ends well and finding out it was a mistake not a crime, then get over it and move on! Pressing charges for a mistake? Pointless.

  21. Steve February 27, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Overreaction Nation is right, Lenore.

    Every mistake is an outrage that can’t be forgiven. In fact, most people today don’t seen to know what the word FORGIVE means!

    These days every mistake of any kind becomes a headline on some newspaper or internet article. History will laugh at this time period and books will be filled with the endless tales of our stupidity.

  22. dancing on thin ice February 27, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    This was not the only local news source that played up the number of offenders in the area.
    Comments on the original story in a newspaper agreed that mistakes happen and someone going through the trouble of being approved for 1 child is unlikely to intentionally take another. (Unless as some joked the child they were OK’ed for was a pain.)
    Years ago this would be treated as a funny story about grandpa. My 83 year old mom picks up a great-grand child once in a while only because he isn’t nearby.

    This is an example of how not talking to strangers can backfire.
    Its OK to talk to strangers but not get in a vehicle with one or at least say something to a teacher.

  23. baby-paramedic February 27, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Although it is becoming more common now to have kids later, it is still possible that there is an unbroken line of having kids at a younger age. I do know more than a few grandparents in their 30s.

    I used to pick my baby brother up from school. I had to wait for a child to separate from the pack and come to the car, those wide brim hats hid their faces, so my only further clue was that I was looking for one of the shorter boys with slightly darker skin. There were more than a few of those!

    In my case I got to the car, threw my bag in, and buckled up. I probably should have noticed Sophie’s grandfather didn’t look anything like mine though!(… but mum, the car was the same…)

  24. lollipoplover February 27, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    The great grandfather is not a *stranger*. He is a caregiver (or driver) and part of the school community. Stop portraying him like a creeper who “compromised” safety. He was given the wrong kid and no kid spoke up. Stop portraying him like a monster when he is an elder member of the community.

    I cannot watch mother give a melodramatic rant about a mix-up at dismissal. Save your emotion, go volunteer at a children’s hospital or homeless shelter and get your priorities straight. Getting everyone to grab their pitchforks and point fingers at schools and security and demand changes? Here’s a change we should instead demand: Have a talk with your child that it’s not OK got go off with a stranger. Speak up and have a voice. You are not helpless.

  25. Andy February 27, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    @pentamom I never hear of safety word. Is it the thing every child is supposed to have where you live?

  26. pentamom February 27, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    SOA, quit judging everyone else by your own experience. Not all great-grandparents are decrepit. It may be that the ggpa was too old or senile to have been given this responsibility but you have no idea if that was the case. He could be a spry, quick-thinking, and careless 65 year old. You just don’t know and can’t judge. My mother-in-law was *raising* her husband’s teenaged great-grand-kids when she was 68, now she is 77 and still perfectly capable of raising a kid who can walk, obey instructions, and take care of his own toilet needs. She can outlast me in a lot of physical activities and show no signs of mental unclarity.

    Yes, people were careless. Nobody said this was the ideal situation.

  27. Donna February 27, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Dolly – Sometimes you need to remember that all families are not the same. Not all grandparents are in the 70s and not all great grandparents are in their 80/90s.

    One of my grandmothers was 39 when I was born. Her mother was in her 60s when she became a great grandmother – just a couple years older than my other grandmother. I was out of college before she died and she did do substantial babysitting of the great grandkids who lived nearby (I was not one). Another one of my great grandmothers was even younger when I was born, but I was the only great grandchild she ever met and she never babysat me.

    That same grandmother who was 39 when I was born was only in her 70s when my daughter, her only great grandchild so far, was born and was more than competent to babysit at the time and did. She is now no longer competent to babysit.

    That same grandmother, who would have only been my age at the time, almost took a strange kid home from school. She came to visit us in Maine when I was in kindergarten. It was winter and all the little kids came running out of school dressed in their identical black snowsuits. She walked up to the wrong kid thinking it was me. I came running over and corrected the error, but she clearly was ready to take the wrong kid home.

    Nobody is saying that you have to be thrilled if some stranger accidentally takes your kid home. But it is not something that CPS and the police need to be involved in. It is not some great drama that needs to be in the news.

  28. pentamom February 27, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Andy, it’s a thing where you teach a code word, and the kid is told never to go with anyone who claims to be sent by his parents but doesn’t give him that code word — obviously not something that would normally be used in context.

    I wasn’t the one who brought it up, I was quoting babyparamedic. Since I homeschooled my kids when they were young enough to not be able to figure out who their adult friends were, I never felt the need. But it’s a pretty common thing.

  29. Donna February 27, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I wonder a lot more about the kindergartener who got into a car with a stranger who clearly thought he was getting someone else. We are talking about a kid that is 6 or nearly so by this point of the school year. Clearly, he should have been able to say “I’m not Danny” or should have at least questioned why some stranger was coming to get him at school.

  30. Donna February 27, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    “Since I homeschooled my kids when they were young enough to not be able to figure out who their adult friends were,”

    At what age would that be? 2. My daughter totally knew by kindergarten her grandparents, my friends, and even my coworkers. At least those who I would ever consider sending to pick her up from school. I am sure that I knew people who had never met my daughter, but I certainly would have never sent them to pick her up at school no matter what the emergency.

  31. Neil M February 27, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Honestly, I’ve gotten so numbed by this ever-present atmosphere of fear (atmosFEAR?) that I was just grateful the police didn’t lock down the entire town and then send out drones to shoot the man on sight. Stone is allowing herself to be carried away by her justifiable nervousness over the situation.

  32. E. Simms February 27, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    This article has a few more details.

    Schools need to stop caving in to hysterics. There is no need to make life more difficult for all the other parents at pick up. I wonder what this school would do if a parent demanded a book be removed from the school library?

    In my personal experience, I have found people who have made honest mistakes in the past, and learned from them, to be much more reliable than people who are terrified of making a decision.

  33. Jane M Smith February 27, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    My kids grew up in a different time. More things happened to them at school than this, and we just dealt with it. The great-grandfather signed out the right kid, so I can’t see how it was the fault of the school and in telling them to return him, as he was known to the school, was not the wrong thing to do. Parents today are being scared to death, unnecessarily. I’m sure the man who got confused felt very foolish. For the parents of the boy to make a legal issue is just not nice nor necessary.

  34. SKL February 27, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Why on earth did the little boy go with Gramps! Did he go willingly or was he dragged? And where was Gramps’ actual grandkid? That is very weird.

    I agree the mom’s demands are wrong, but honestly, I don’t blame her for being shocked. Especially if she was looking for her AWOL kid in the interim. That is about the weirdest thing I ever heard of.

  35. Betsy February 27, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    I am just curious why the kid didn’t say “hey, wait a minute.” Both my kids, 10 and 6, would know, at the very least, not get into a car they don’t recognize with a person they don’t know. Why is the mom putting all the blame on the older gentleman?
    This kind of thing makes me want to scream…

  36. SKL February 27, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I don’t deny that 5yo is young for some kids to be left on their own to follow the bus procedure. There is nothing wrong with expecting the school to have a policy that considers the developmental age of those kids.

    Since the mom had no idea her kid was AWOL until they called her, I’m assuming he was supposed to get on a bus and nobody noticed that, a, he was not on the bus, and b, the other little boy who was supposed to be picked up was not picked up. Now I want to know how much time elapsed between the time Gramps picked the boy up and the time they called to inform the school of the mix-up.

  37. Amanda Matthews February 27, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    My kids’ great-grandparents on their Dad’s side are only in their 60s, and were in their 50s when the oldest kid was kindergarden age.

    But I wouldn’t ask them to “babysit” any child young enough to not really be able to take care of themselves, and I wouldn’t ask them to drive the kids around.

    If they picked up the wrong kid, I’d be concerned about what else they may mix up.

    This is a concerning situation all around, but not the “call cps” kind of concerning. The “wrong” kid needs to be taught to speak up and who to go home with. His parents need to talk to their neighbors, or at the very least the families of their kid’s classmates, so that these people are not “total strangers”.

    The parents are the ones that let it get to this point – where their kid doesn’t speak up, leaves with strangers and where these people are total strangers – and they are angry at the school for their own failings?

  38. Ravana February 27, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Two comments:

    1. How can it be “terrifying” when she learned of the incident after the fact?

    2. Perhaps she should have taught her son not to get into strange cars with people he doesn’t know, even if an authority figure told him to do so.

  39. Amanda Matthews February 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    @E. Simms

    Uh, after reading that article, it actually is kind of scary.

    Scary that this man is driving, and that he’s put in charge of a 5 year old, when he can’t recognize the child’s voice, and maybe can’t see details very well (since he couldn’t look at the kid’s face and tell it was the wrong kid, and went based on hat, coat color and height?).

    I’d be more concerned that this man is out on the road every day than the fact that there was a mixup that my kid got home from unscathed.

  40. SKL February 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    OK so the printed news story has interesting details. The grandpa was 79. He was supposed to pick up a similarly-dressed boy because the child’s mother was sick; it was not the normal routine. The boy said something to the grandpa as soon as he started driving the “wrong way,” and then the boy refused to get out of the car, at which point the grandma got a good look at his face and called the school immediately.

    Sounds like the grandpa may not have spent a lot of time with the grandkid or for whatever other reason didn’t pick up on cues that would be obvious that “this isn’t my grandkid.” It sounds like there was a family emergency and the parents did what they could under the circumstances.

    The mom is going overboard, probably because others are encouraging her to, because it makes a good story I guess. I absolutely don’t blame her for being freaked out at first. But the fact is that her boy was never in any danger, and she knows it. Police and CPS are not necessary. A change in pickup policy probably is necessary.

  41. SKL February 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Amanda, it sounds like the little boy was wearing a mask hat, which is popular with little boys in cold places. So he could not see the boy’s face and it would have distorted the voice.

  42. BL February 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    “Why on earth did the little boy go with Gramps! Did he go willingly or was he dragged?”

    Probably because the whole pick-up procedure is bureaucratically choreographed and kid has already been brainwashed to follow procedure without speaking up, no matter what.

  43. Donna February 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    From reading the article, it sounds like the man went into the school and got the kid. Did the school give him the wrong kid?

    “I don’t deny that 5yo is young for some kids to be left on their own to follow the bus procedure.”

    Have kids gotten dumber since 1975 or is the bus procedure much more difficult now? I didn’t ride the bus in kindergarten, but some of my friends did and nobody was escorted onto any bus. The bell rang and you ran out the door to catch your bus. All by your lonesome. Even in kindergarten. Maybe the special ed kids were escorted to their buses, but definitely not the regular students.

  44. Amanda Matthews February 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    “Amanda, it sounds like the little boy was wearing a mask hat,”

    Ahh okay, I’ve never heard of those being referred to as simply “hats”. I’ve always heard them called ski masks or balaclavas.

    “Have kids gotten dumber since 1975 or is the bus procedure much more difficult now?”

    I started riding the bus at 5, in 1990. No one was guided to the buses. I remember that the first day I got on the bus to go home (we had different busses coming and going), I was nervous that I would get on the wrong bus. So I said to the bus driver; “I live at [my address]. Is this the right bus?”

    But, I can see how fear of letting your kid talk to “strangers” and all these school procedures have resulted in this, and are leading to LESS SAFE situations. Unfortunately when the glaring flaws in those are pointed out by incidences like this one, people call for MORE procedures and less talking to strangers, rather than realizing that’s what got them into the situation…

  45. Anthony R. February 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Her reaction wasn’t because her child was in danger, it was because her child was picked-up by a stranger–and you cannot seriously tell me that you do not understand why she would react to that. Yes, the kid is back safe and sound, and most likely will be a story to tell later in life, but only because the “elderly man” was harmless and innocent, but not every stranger who takes your child is–usually very few are. She didn’t ask for “the world to stop,” she requested that obvious school security flaws be corrected, as would be expected.

  46. SKL February 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    All kids are not the same. Sure, probably most of them can do the bus thing, but obviously not all.

    I always walked to & from school. Byt in my elementary school, there were only 2 buses: our school’s bus and the “Nearbycity” bus. They looked very different. It was pretty straightforward.

    When my younger siblings went to a bigger school, the teachers would take the younger kids out and have them line up on the number for their buses. The teacher would make sure each kid was on the right number before the buses collected the kids.

    It is not strange to expect a school to think ahead, knowing that there are kids who might make a mistake. Immature kids, distracted kids, special needs kids, and even normal kids wanting a little adventure. My sister and I hopped on a school bus when we were little because we were going to visit a friend. My sister claimed the visit was cleared with our parents, but in fact it was not. Stuff happens. It is easier to take simple preventative steps than to deal with the aftermath when a kid ends up across town.

  47. Donna February 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    I don’t even understand the people who are saying that the mother didn’t overreact by freaking out at first. She never realized her child was missing. The first indication that she gets of this is a phone call saying that the child is fine. I don’t see a reason to freak out. To be annoyed? To wonder what the heck is going on at that school? Yes. But someone who wants to harm a child is not going to call the school and alert the school to his possession of the child so freaking out in this situation seems an overreaction.

  48. lollipoplover February 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    “Probably because the whole pick-up procedure is bureaucratically choreographed and kid has already been brainwashed to follow procedure without speaking up, no matter what.”

    Yeah, but this kid was a BUS rider with his two siblings. Getting into a car, without his siblings, with an old man he never met, isn’t his normal dismissal.

  49. wombat94 February 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    The problem with the school giving in to the mother in cases like this is because schools think of parents as “customers” and “the customer is always right.”

    The fact is that the customer isn’t ALWAYS right… even in retailing where the saying originated, but it is usually best to treat the customer as if they are right because of a long-term benefit of keeping the customer.

    When you apply the “customer is always right” philosophy to education – both inside the classroom and out – stupid decisions are made and outrageous behavior by parents is rewarded.

    What we need are school administrators who are secure in their jobs and secure in the knowledge that making the best decision for the school and students as a whole will not lead to their removal from those jobs.

  50. lollipoplover February 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    From the NY Post article:

    “Derek’s wife Angela panicked when Everett didn’t get off the bus with their other two children.
    “The principal gets on the phone, and tells my wife ‘There’s been a mix-up, your son went home with another kid’s grandfather,’” he said.
    Angela runs a daycare center out of their home so she couldn’t leave to pick up their frightened child, so the school sent him home on a school bus.
    “They put him on an empty school bus, scared to death, and sent him home alone,” Derek fumed.
    “That was their answer to getting my son home.”

    How was he sent home alone? Are school buses not driven by bus drivers?

  51. Donna February 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    SKL – For decades no such measures happened at any school I attended and neither did “stuff.”

    Kids can pretty much do what we expect them to do and I don’t think getting on the correct school bus is too much to ask, even at 5. It is when we expect nothing from them that they get distracted and go home with total strangers. Now if you have a problem with your specific child that makes him/her incapable of doing this, the school should certainly provide an escort, but I see no reason to treat the entirety of the kindergarten class as incapable of catching a bus.

  52. E February 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m just curious about why they didn’t use the child’s NAME. Sure, 5 year old boys might look similar, but do they have the same name? Why wasn’t it as simple as saying “Jonny Smith your ride is here”.

    Then again, I have only watched the video – which answers no question about the logistics issue.

  53. SKL February 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Donna, you probably would not have heard of it if there was a school bus mix-up at your school, because in those days it wasn’t spread all over town. I’m sure it wasn’t common knowledge that my sister and I hopped on a bus we didn’t belong on. I’ll bet there were plenty of mishaps and they were dealt with in a sane manner.

    But now there is little chance of mishaps being dealt with in a sane manner, hence the wisdom of giving it a little forethought.

  54. SKL February 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    I would also like to know why nobody is saying:

    “This is a good reminder for parents to talk to their children about not going with someone they don’t know” etc.

  55. anonymous this time February 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    I’d say this is a case of learning a very important lesson at a very cheap price.

    Lesson? Don’t get into a car with someone you don’t know.

    Cheap price? Kid felt a little scared and worried, but no one laid a hand on him or exacerbated his distress.

    Oh, except his parents. THEY exacerbated his distress. Not that I imagine the boy didn’t have fear of his own. From the article I read, he protested pretty early on in the ride.

    What I don’t understand is if this boy knew his own address, why the folks who had him didn’t deliver him to his home instead of to the school again? Sounds like the ride home on the empty bus was part of the freakout for the kid. Sounds like they all lived on the same road, is it so bad to just say, “Whoops! Wrong kid! Where do you live? We’ll take you home.”

    All of this stuff about the police is laughable, if we’re talking about minimizing a child’s distress. What’s scarier: realizing you went home with people you don’t know but who are harmless, or having police cars rush to the scene with sirens wailing and officers with sidearms at the ready arriving on the scene of an “attempted abduction” and assuming the older folks are “bad guys”?

    I think these parents want some kind of acknowledgement that their kid had a big emotional experience here. Okay. Your kid had feelings about what happened. Was he in any danger of harm from the outside world? No. But he felt funny, scared, overwhelmed. And he learned something:


    Frankly, I’d be celebrating this learning, not demanding the school make the pick-up policy ever more labyrinthine and draconian.

    And I certainly don’t care about grandpa, or his “fitness” to be an occasional chauffeur. Cut the guy a little slack. He was doing a favour for his grandkid (mom of the other boy).

    And where DID that other boy go? He’s not mentioned. Did he just sit around at school waiting for his mom to show up? I guess the great-grandparents found him waiting alone in the schoolyard when they returned the first tyke.

  56. Donna February 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    The more I read about this situation, the more I wonder “is this a special ed child?” I can’t for the life of me understand how a normal intelligence (not even particularly bright) kid that is now more than half way through kindergarten, would get into a car he doesn’t recognize, with a man he doesn’t know, without his siblings when he always rides a bus without asking questions that would tip someone off to the fact that something was wrong. Would he not at least say “hey where are my siblings?”

  57. Jen (P.) February 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    I’m confused. The NY Post story says mom panicked when her son didn’t get off the bus with his siblings, but the tv report says (or at least implies–I don’t want to watch it again to confirm) that she didn’t know until they called her. If the Post is correct and he was supposed to be on the bus, how did he end up in someone’s car in the first place? In my experience, elementary schools are pretty careful about separating car riders from bus riders. For instance, our buses pick up behind the school, and the carpool line is in front. If it’s just a free for all then maybe the school should consider some changes in procedure, but jeez there’s no reason to involve the cops.

    And the article says the kid realized things weren’t right when gramps didn’t turn toward his home. But if he was supposed to be on the bus, didn’t he think something was up when he was sent to a stranger’s car? That doesn’t add up. And what happened to the great-grandson?Did a staff member confuse the two boys and send him home on the bus and his parents are just reasonable enough to avoid the media?

    Incidentally, I love this: “’The secretary says ‘Bring him back,’ at that point the police should have been notified,’ Derek said.” WHY??? If the guy meant any harm, do you think he’d have called the school to tell them he had the wrong kid?

    And a mother in Connecticut of all places saying that THIS is a parent’s worst nightmare. Wow. No doubt it was a bit nerve-wracking. We had a couple of communication snafu’s about transportation after school when our kids were younger, but those (like this) were honest mistakes and all’s well that ends well.

  58. Jen (P.) February 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    @Donna “The more I read about this situation, the more I wonder “is this a special ed child?”

    I thought that too, but he knew when gramps didn’t turn toward his house and spoke up then and also refused to get out of the car when they arrived at the grandfather’s house. . . . This is a weird story.

  59. SKL February 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    By the way, Connecticut allows kids to enter KG as long as they are 5 by January 1, so this boy might be a young 5.

    Not sure why he got in the car with Gramps, but I can picture Gramps coming and telling him that his mom is sick so he’s going to take him home today. Maybe he thought that was odd, but didn’t know what to say about it, because it was so out of the ordinary. Or maybe he tried to say something but wasn’t clear. Many 5yos are not very articulate.

  60. mystic_eye February 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    It is a weird story: for example what happened to the kid that was supposed to be picked up, didn’t anyone notice he wasn’t? Did he get on a bus and go to a stop/house where no one was home?

  61. Maggie February 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    SOA, My husband’s great-grandma used to look after him, and she was far from doddering and decrepit- she became a great grandmother before she was 50! You say you wouldn’t be happy if some random person you don’t know picked your kids up from school- I can understand that, but why not hold the kid accountable for not getting into strangers’ cars? Nobody forced this child into the car, did they?

  62. marie February 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    If this had happened to me when I was little, my parents would have had me take that gentleman a plate of cookies because…well, just because. As a thank you for driving me back to the school, as an acknowledgement that he was inconvenienced by my mistake, and as reassurance for him that everyone was fine.

    And then we would have had a grand old time with the story for years and the focus of the story would have been how silly I was not to pay attention and how nice the old man was to take me back where I belonged.

    The worst thing I can imagine for my children is that they would grow up to be ‘fraidy cat nincompoops, like the mother of this little boy.

  63. Warren February 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Everyone taking issues with the great grandpa need to back off. You don’t know the man, you’ve never met the man but are all ready to condem him basically on his age. I know people this age that will run circles around most of you physically and mentally.
    Have you seen the way overreacting mothers like the one in the video , dress their kids in winter? Between the huge coats, the hats, mitts, pants, boots and scarves they look like a multi colour marshmellow with a tiny slit between the scarf and hat to see thru.

    I consider them lucky to have a great grandpa that is still active in their lives. The bunch of you are ready to have him put in a home.

  64. marie February 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    As for the great-grandfather and whether he should be taking care of the five-year-old, the child should not need much care at that age and had darned well better be a big help to the great-grandparents.

  65. SOA February 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    I agree it does not need to be a news story or have the police involved. I would leave the CPS part up to the school to decide if Great Grandpa is too senile and old to really be responsible for a young child. Let’s just say I would never accidentally take home the wrong kid. I mean the first thing I do is start talking to them about their day and stuff. How could not NOT notice immediately or at least before you got out of the parking lot?!

  66. Ben February 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    So what about the kid who didn’t get picked up because of great granddad’s mistake? They must’ve been bored out of their mind…

  67. SOA February 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Amanda: I know a lot of the parents and even some grandparents of my kids classmates but no way for me to know every great grandparent, parent or parent of 20 kids especially if they don’t come to school.
    I don’t think that is really a realistic thing to expect.

    I just wonder how competent this guy is if he really did not know his own great grandson for long enough for this whole thing to blow out of proportion. Like sure you don’t notice immediately and so you circle the block and come right back. Sounds like this was a lot longer than that. So yeah…..that would be like my Grandmother who forgets who we are…but then I also would not have her in charge of my kids either.

    Yes, some Great Grandparents are in their 60s or younger or are pretty spry, but let’s be honest most are not and y

  68. SOA February 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    and yes some Parents take advantage of them for free daycare like that mom I mentioned I knew who had the 80 year old great grandparents being free daily daycare. That is just not cool.

  69. Papilio February 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Aargh, I can’t even watch that video – I hate that stupid drama-loving tone.
    So great-grandpa picked up the wrong packidge (kid + package), returned it unopened to exchange it for the right packidge, and now the rightful owners of the first one are discovering new careers as drama king & queen. Just another day in the USA I suppose…

    “I wonder what this school would do if a parent demanded a book be removed from the school library?”
    Make sure it’s the right book?

  70. Ger February 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    In response to SOA’s comment, “Why is great grandpa picking up a kid anyway? Aren’t they a little old to be responsible for young kids solely?”

    My children’s great grandparents are very healthy in mind and body, and in their 70s. They are certainly able to pick any of my children up from school and bring them home, or to their home to play for a while.

  71. SOA February 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    If anything this does show how it is a good idea to try to get to know some of the other parents in your kids school so you can ask them to bring your kid home in emergencies instead of relying on Great Grandpa who may not be that familiar with how things are done with pick up and who might pick up the wrong kid.

    From what I have heard (We walk so we don’t have to deal with it) is that when someone like that comes to pick up the kids they mess up the car rider line and moms get stabby because it backs up the traffic.

    Several moms know they can always send their kids home with me if they need to and that is good.

  72. Donna February 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Dolly, Actually it doesn’t sound like it was much more than around the block. This is a small town. It is not like it would take hours to get home from school and they realized it immediately upon getting there.

    Gramps may not be the chit-chatty type. He is of an age where many men didn’t really interact with their own children much. Since others were home, his role could have exclusively been chauffeur. The attributes that I look for in a taxi driver are not the same as I look for in a babysitter.

  73. SOA February 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Well this Great Grandpa is 89 and yeah, that is a little too old. Did I get that right? I think someone said he was 89. That is my Grandparents age and no, I don’t think they are good candidates for stuff like this. I would send them home with my parents or my MIL or one of the moms of one of their friends or a neighbor or something before I called a Great Grandparent.

  74. Donna February 27, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Dolly, maybe mom knows everyone on the school and is the belle of the ball, but WANTED her family to pick up the child. Maybe she is going to be ill for more than an hour or two and wants Jr. to spend the night elsewhere and, like every sick person I’ve ever known, doesn’t want to spend lots of time arranging things with several different people. Maybe she lives with gramps and she just wanted the kid home. Maybe it doesn’t matter because as the parent, it is MY decision who picks my child up from school and the other moms just have to deal with it messing up the flow of their day if that person doesn’t do it exactly right (and then they should go home, remove the stick from their butt and be happier people).

  75. Donna February 27, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    No, he is 79 and I am sure that he doesn’t appreciate being aged 10 years.

  76. Donna February 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    And my grandmother’s 87 year old friend is still the caregiver for her family. Her grandchildren and now great grandchildren fly her around the world (one lives as far away as Australia) to help out and babysit (meaning she is babysitting some great greats now). My grandmother, on the other hand, is younger and can’t take care of herself. You are jumping to way too many conclusions based on the fact that this is a great grandparent. People age massively differently.

  77. Amanda Matthews February 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    “Amanda: I know a lot of the parents and even some grandparents of my kids classmates but no way for me to know every great grandparent, parent or parent of 20 kids especially if they don’t come to school.
    I don’t think that is really a realistic thing to expect.”

    Except they are all neighbors, and the great-grandparent is picking a classmate up from school occasionally. Why is it unrealistic to know such people?

    If I was so afraid of strangers, I would make an effort to ensure that at the very least, the people coming around my kid are not strangers (not that I wouldn’t ever let strangers come around – but I mean, I would make it so that those people that are regularly around, are not strangers). How can a kid function daily if he’s taught to be scared out of his mind, of the people that are constantly surrounding him?

    But maybe I look at it with too much logic, while the “stranger danger” people are looking at it with none.

    Warren, I am not condemning him just based on age, I am condemning him based on age + the fact that he can not tell his great-grandson from another kid that has a similar hat.

    If he can’t think, see and hear clearly enough to differentiate, I wouldn’t say put him in a home nor cut him out of the kid’s life; but I would say don’t let him drive! This has nothing to do with age, it is about his vision and mental abilities. My sister is 39 and she should not be allowed to drive; she needs glasses, but refuses to wear them. She had cataract surgery not too long ago, but even just before that, she was driving. I wouldn’t send her to pick up my kids if I were sick and I think it’s horrible that she is even allowed to be on the road. It’s great that she is in her granddaughter’s life but… well, she won’t be anymore if she kills herself or someone else while driving.

    Some people are spry at 79, but some aren’t. It isn’t like the only choices are pick up your great-grandson from school or go to a home.

  78. SKL February 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Dolly, no, the guy is 79.

    I’m pretty sure some world leaders have still been in their jobs at that age.

  79. SKL February 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Why can’t people understand that this boy’s mom was sick and needed to make emergency arrangements, which often are not ideal, for her child?

    After reading the article, it sounds to me like there was a very short time from when the boy was picked up and when they discovered he wasn’t the right kid. People are making an awful big deal out of this. Hasn’t anyone watched Home Alone? 😛

  80. SOA February 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Donna: Yes, you can decide who picks up your kid, but yes, if that person messes up royally (which this guy did) then you have to accept that someone is going to bitch at you about it and take you to task for it.

    You can control your own life, but when your bad decisions mess up my life, I darn well get to say something about it. So in this case, I at least would be on the mom’s side about her being pissed off over the whole situation. I would not be going to the school board or calling CPS or calling the cops, but I would be bitching that mother out for letting someone incompetent pick up a kid when that person cannot even recognize if they have the right kid or not.

    I don’t think it is a simple mistake. He had to get out of the car, sign the kid out, get the kid, put the kid in the car and then drive the kid home and never in all that time noticed it was not the right kid. The article said even when the kid did say something about this not being the way to my house and not getting out of the car, the Great Grandpa still did not realize he had the wrong kid till that man’s wife came and looked at him and said “That’s the wrong kid.” So I am going to go out on a limb and say the man has vision, hearing or cognition issues and therefore it was a bad judgement call on the mother’s part to have him pick the kid up.

  81. Big Jake February 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Am I the only one that thinks the idea of multiple pickup zones with notes and ID is INSANE? It is going to become a multi-hour ordeal to get your kid after school? This woman has just stolen hours of time from busy parents. I would be livid if I had to go through what amounts to an airport check-in line to get my kid home.

  82. SOA February 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    Amanda: In our city, you are not neighbors with every grand parent or great grandparent that might happen to have a kid at the same school as your kid. They could live completely across town. Its a big city.

  83. lollipoplover February 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    The boy said this:
    “I live on Pine Hill Road!” which incidentally is the same street that his great-grandson lives on.

    So both boys in identical hats and jackets live on the very same street. What are the chances!
    Have you ever seen the Parent Trap?!

    And drop the ageism with Grandpa. Just because you have personal daddy issues with age doesn’t mean this man did anything that another *younger* neighbor/friend/relative might have done to help a sick mom. He was not a stranger but a family member doing a favor and he should be treated with respect.

  84. J- February 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    I bet that the great-grandpa is going to get charged with kidnapping.

    The police were called. They can’t just let it go, or they will be seen as being “soft on crime” or whatever.

    Let’s just pray the SWAT team that is charged with executing the no-knock warrant and raiding his house at 5:00 am doesn’t shoot gramps to death for holding a coffee cup.

  85. Amanda Matthews February 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    @SOA from the two articles I was getting that 1. not very much time passed while the great-grandpa was driving home and 2. they passed the kid’s street so I assumed the great-grandparents were neighbors too.

  86. SKL February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    SOA, what makes you think this kid had to be signed out? School-aged kids don’t need to be signed at the end of the school day.

    And why do you insist that the sick mom must have known her grandpa was likely to make a mistake? Or that someone else’s kid would follow him like a sheep and get into his vehicle? I mean, to me, that is the freakiest part of this whole thing – the kid got into a stranger’s car, instead of hooking up with his siblings to at least ask if this was OK. Now that would freak me out, but not for the reason some think.

    I don’t understand why blame is necessary at all here. But if it is, why blame the lady who’s too sick to get up and drive to the school for her kid? Think about it. She too could be very shook up. We still don’t know what her kid was doing while Gramps was supposed to be driving him home. Perhaps he was scared or worse. If I were the mom lying sick in bed, I’d be so frustrated that I had to hand off control and watch stuff happen. Have a little sympathy. I’ve been so sick that I had to keep my kids home from school because I have nobody else to take them. Sometimes there is no good solution to a problem.

  87. marie February 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    He was not a stranger but a family member doing a favor and he should be treated with respect.

    THANK YOU, lollipoplover. This is it, exactly.

    Someday, SOA, you will be 79 or 89 and I hope you remember the terribly unkind things you have said here about older people.

  88. Donna February 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    Maybe the mom didn’t call the granddad. Maybe the mom called someone else and that person sent the granddad. Who the heck knows. Crap happens. If you can’t deal with it, stay home, stop interacting with the world and for god’s sake don’t have children.

    And he didn’t screw up royally. Screwing up royally would be if some harm had come to either child. It didn’t. The kid simply got home a few minutes later than planned. Not a big deal unless you want to make it a big deal. Heck, the mother wasn’t even inconvenienced as the child was put on a bus a delivered to her. So basically he just screwed up.

    The situation was not ideal, but the mother is making mountains out of molehills.

  89. SOA February 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    It all depends on how the mom reacts about it. If she came to me and apologized about the situation and seemed to acknowledge the Great Grandpa might not be a good choice for babysitting and school pick up, then I would be okay with her. But if she got defensive and would not apologize about it and got snappy with me, then yeah, she would get no sympathy from me.

    Crap happens but when crap happens, you need to own to your mistakes and apologize and show you will do better in the future. I would even offer to pick her kid up myself next time she had an emergency over sending the Great Grandpa who seems not up to the task.

    I may be off, but I have just seen too many cases of parents over relying on the elderly Grandparents and Great Grandparents to do their parenting tasks so I get skeptical that she honestly was not aware that he might be not the best person for the job. When you have kids you plan for emergencies and have a back up pick up person that you know can do the job well.

  90. marie February 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    The idea of complaining to another mom because YOU think she shouldn’t ask favors of her grandfather is truly bizarre. Especially when the only reason you know anything about the grandfather at all is because your child made a mistake.

  91. Donna February 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    “I mean, to me, that is the freakiest part of this whole thing – the kid got into a stranger’s car”

    EXACTLY!! If I show up to pick up Johnny and some kid who is dressed like Johnny gets into my car when I say “come on, Johnny,” I’m not sure that I am the incompetent one.

    I am still floored that a child would, not only get into a car with a stranger, but would also fail to ask about the siblings. It is clear that he made a comment about going the wrong way so he wasn’t afraid to speak up nor did he lack articulation skills, but he ever asked as gramps was pulling away “hey, where’s Bobby and Susie?”

    If we must blame any mother, I pick the mother of the child who got in the car for failing to teach her child extremely basic safety. I would also not be surprised if that is why she is making this such a big deal. Then it is not her fault, it is gramps’ fault.

  92. Donna February 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Again, Dolly, why the heck do you think she wants you to pick up her child? She is sick. She wants the child where she wants the child, not at your house where she then has to call someone else to go pick up the kid and explain where you live, etc.

    And, I’ll apologize to her for sending gramps (not for gramps accidentally picking up the wrong kid for which she is owed an apology) when she apologizes to gramps for not teaching her kid not to get into the car with strangers.

    Nor is there any indication that she over relies on her grandparents. SHE WAS SICK, not at the spa getting a massage. Based on the facts, I’d say gramps doesn’t do a whole helluva lot of parenting of this kid.

  93. Peanut February 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    The funniest thing about this whole conversation is that SOA found a way to include a moan about her kid’s peanut allergies.

    Really?! “What is the wrong person picks up my kid and then immediately feeds him a peanut butter cookie?” Funny.

    I might start a drinking game and chug one every time SOA mentions her own children’s (unrelated to the topic at hand) issues.

    But then I’d be so loaded I’d probably grab the wrong kid at pickup…

  94. SKL February 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Dolly, I think you’re going off the deep end on this one.

  95. Donna February 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Or maybe gramps picks up the kid regularly (he is known to the school) and he really has no idea why this strange kid got in his car this time.

  96. SKL February 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Well anyway, at this point it should be time for everyone involved to have de-escalated enough to laugh about this little incident. Like every other hilarious incident that “wasn’t funny at the time.” Unfortunately if the cops and CPS are involved, that nice therapeutic step will be indefinitely delayed. :/

  97. Andy February 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    I am kind of happy that I live somewhere where safety word is unheard of. I’m also not that shocked about five years old doing what he was told by adult. I would be surprised about older kids going in, but five year old is still that age where they tend to see adults as authorities.

    I mean, it is not smartest thing to do and I would not give my kid chocolate reward for it. I would tell my kid to make much more fuss about it next time and not go to car.

    But it is something not all that much surprising. That is what five years old do when you do not raise them with “careful of all strangers all the time” mindset.

    If parents do not specifically teach the kid mistrust and do not specifically prepare for possible abduction situation (safety word), this is how five years old kids behave.

    Btw, this is how kids used to be raised – in those mythical good all times when all kids were supposed to be respectful to all adults all the time (nope I do not raise my kids that way).

  98. E February 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    yeah, the whole thing is a little bizarre. It does seem like the school’s pickup policy is odd if someone is picking him up as a “one off” and the process involves the picker-upper picking the kid out themselves.

    I think the Mom should be happy that the police didn’t get involved. Police cars can scare kids — my son (a little older than K) had a collision with his bike and a car in our neighborhood pool parking lot and his handle bar scratched one of her doors. Her first call was to the police, then us. By the time we got to the pool, he was petrified because he knew she’d called the police and thought he’d end up in Jail.

    Of course, this kid didn’t do anything wrong but police can be scary if a situation is confusing already.

    I suppose her issue was that this confused Grandpa was the same one that drove him back to school, but at that point he was already safely back.

  99. Warren February 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Time to have your meds reviewed.
    Secondly, I would love to see you bitch at my wife about something like this. That would be funny.

  100. Donna February 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    I disagree completely, Andy. I never raised my daughter in fear and, yet, I can’t imagine her getting into this car without asking a million questions, even at 5. It wouldn’t be fear of kidnapping motivating her, but I do think she would be highly curious as to who this person was, why she wasn’t taking the bus and where her siblings were. She may have asked the questions while climbing into the car, but there is no way she would have just sat silently like this kid appeared to do until gramps went the wrong way on the road.

    I think that this kid’s reaction is one of a child who has never been allowed to think for himself, not the reaction of a child raised in a free range home.

  101. Emily February 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    Does anyone else here think that the boys might have pulled their hats over their heads with the express purpose of trying to see if they could pull off a switch without their adults knowing? It seems like the kind of thing that five-year-olds would do, not realizing that the adults would freak out, cry, and involve the police and the local media.

  102. SKL February 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    It also makes sense for Gramps to drive the kid back to school, since he still needed to pick up the other kid who was presumably waiting there without a ride. It is a much better answer than having them wait around for a bunch of 3rd parties to get around to it. That would have been much scarier.

    I don’t see anything wrong with what the school did after learning of the incident.

    Before that, I’d just want to know how it happened that the little boy was able to go get into someone’s car when he was supposed to get on the bus. Someone on staff should have at least asked the boy if this was someone he knew, or something. And they should have known he had siblings who would normally be with him. So I’m glad the school did an investigation, because I don’t blame the mom for wanting to know how it happened. If only so she could coach her children better.

  103. E. Simms February 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    What all this boils down to is that all the Stone family kids need some serious life skills training. First the five year old gets into a car with someone he doesn’t know when he was supposed to get on the bus. Then, his two older siblings either didn’t notice he wasn’t on the bus or were too shy to speak up and tell the driver that their brother was missing. In my world it’s pretty unusual for older siblings to be that oblivious about the youngest child.

    Others have mentioned the fact the the bus riders and car riders seemed to be commingled. I found that pretty unusual too. Even when I was in grade school back in the wild free range days, the bus riders were released first. When the last bus pulled out, the car riders were released. When the last car left, the walkers were released. That decreased the chances of the walkers getting hit by a bus or a car. Granted, back then there were not many car riders. Today the walkers may have a long wait in that system.

  104. E February 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    A lot of people are dumping on the kid, but it seems he used reasonable thought process. First off, the other kids lives 3 doors down from him, perhaps the G-pa was semi-known to him. The mother (in this long diatribe against the school: says that the kid was waiting in line for his bus to be called and the G-pa said “Mom is sick, I’m picking you up”. The G-pa is within the safe confines of the school, not on a curb, so the kid opts to go along. Apparently he immediately talked about going the wrong way, etc.

    Anyway – that speech by the Mom is a whole ball of anger. She calls the school principals “incompetent leaders” – to some applause. There might some bad blood there before all this.

    I hope for her sake that they don’t ever find out what real “disaster” is.

  105. Donna February 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    E Simms – Back in my day, all kids were released at the same time together. The bell rang for the end of the day and everyone ran out of their classrooms. The bus riders went out the front where the buses were. The walkers went out the closest exit and either went home or played on the playground. There was no such thing as a car rider.

  106. Anne February 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    While I agree that the parents did overreact in THIS situation, I disagree that we should allow small children (even in grade 8!!) to walk home alone. Or, did you not read about the little 10 year-old who was found murdered after walking home alone from a friend’s house? Unfortunately, NOBODY who saw her walking alone or the creepy pedophile circling the blocks several times overreacted. And because they were like you, thinking that they didn’t want to be perceived as “overprotective”, that child is gone, and probably went through hell before he killed her. When I was 14 I was almost kidnapped. Thank GOD, I overreacted and got away.

  107. E. Simms February 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    From the article that E linked:

    “Courtney Langlois, a parent and member of the school’s governance council,…….“Unfortunately, it takes a horrific event to bring attention to the matter,” she said.

    “horrific event”??? Shoot me now.

  108. Warren February 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm #


    So even teenagers shouldn’t walk home alone? I think you found the wrong website. You are looking for Paranoid Parents.Com.

  109. Andy February 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    @Donna That sounds like you have nice talkative daughter. Not every kids is like that. Many are not talkative or even shy or passive and many are simply calm. Both your kid and what you seem to write about your childhood sounds to me like you are above average outspoken extroverted family.

    Plus, as someone wrote, “I’m here instead of mum today” is generic enough and both kids lives close to each other, so great grandpa might look known.

    Five years old being naive or too trusting does not came to me as shocking. Neither five years old being shy or not talking much.

  110. Amanda Matthews February 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Anne, if a small child manages to be in grade 8, I think it’s safe to say they have the mental capabilities to walk home.

  111. serena February 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Didn’t the kid realize he didn’t know this man? My kids knew their family members when they were in kindergarten

  112. Donna February 27, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Andy – I am a quiet, shy introvert. My daughter is more talkative and outgoing but not a raging extrovert. I highly doubt thay I would have gone at all as I didn’t like strangers. My daughter could go either way. Sometimes she is very shy and sometimes not. If she did follow, she would be asking a million questions.

    In my experience with kids of similar age, it seems very odd to me that he didn’t ask anything and just followed a stranger silently. I would expect him to be either very reticent to go or more verbal if he did go.

  113. Warren February 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Maybe this Mom is not only over reacting, but over acting for one simple reason. To sway the blame away from her. She is the one that raised a child that silently and willingly left school with a stranger. If she points fingers, cries on camera and calls for reform then it wasn’t her fault.

  114. Backroads February 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    I’m with Emily–I can so see some kindergartner boys playing a game of switcheroo.

    The whole thing is ridiculous. Yes, I would find the situation upsetting, but not disastrous.

  115. Reziac February 27, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Mike In Virginia says:
    The parent certainly has reason to be upset at the school because kindergartners need a little bit more hand-holding to make sure they get on the right bus or are picked up by the right person (I was placed on the wrong bus once in kindergarten because the school got me mixed up with another child – long story, but turned out okay).

    Actually, I’d say the “bit more handholding” is part of the problem. It teaches children that they should NOT trust their own knowledge or judgment, because an adult will ALWAYS be there to make the decision for them — and if the adult puts the child on the wrong bus, the adult is still right and the child is wrong.

    Frankly, any child old enough to ride a bus is old enough to remember their bus number, and should be treated accordingly.

  116. hineata February 27, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    This is so funny, and it’s such a shame it seems neither family is going to get a good laugh out of it. Great granddad deserves a medal for helping out….

    To the ‘age’ thing, my great aunt was still raising kids for various members of the family, not just picking them up after school, at age 80. She’s now 92, past that finally and still sad about it.

    As for the kid knowing not to get in a stranger’s car, yes, they should have protested more. But at that age my Midge, anyway, in spite of all warnings to the contrary, quite likely would have gone with any old grandfather type because she was extremely social, and would have assumed fun things were likely about to happen :-). Guess I was lucky nut jobs who harm kids are extremely rare…

    Sorry, but I just feel like strangling that mum!

  117. Mark Roulo February 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    “Maybe this Mom is not only over reacting, but over acting for one simple reason. To sway the blame away from her. She is the one that raised a child that silently and willingly left school with a stranger. If she points fingers, cries on camera and calls for reform then it wasn’t her fault.”

    If she doesn’t do/say anything, then there isn’t a story and no one blames her for anything. So I don’t think this is it.

    My wife and I lost our then 7 year old at the Phoenix Zoo a number of years ago. It took us about an hour to find him (he was, eventually, waiting patiently at a pretty logical spot). We didn’t call the police. Or insist that the zoo re-layout their paths …

  118. hineata February 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Had my husband’s parents gone to school to pick up my kids (which would never have happened, sadly, because of the language barrier) we could have had fun like this. Granddad would just have picked whatever kid looked Eurasian, because he didn’t get to see the kids much, and to him all half caste kids looked like his grandchildren :-).

    He would then have taken them anywhere he could find for Chinese food, which might be some kid’s idea of a nightmare, I guess!

  119. hineata February 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    I have too much time on my hands this afternoon, LOL, so checked out the school website. There was nothing I could see about this incident, but can someone tell me what a ‘US flag status’ is? I clicked on it and it shows a pretty picture of the Stars and Stripes, but why is it there? Is Connecticut expecting to be taken over by, say, Poland, and have a change of flag?

  120. Mark Roulo February 27, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    “can someone tell me what a ‘US flag status’ is?”

    Sure. It is whether you are expected to fly the flag at full height, or half-mast (or, in theory, not at all).

    Half-mast is for mourning … which can be national (we just lost a president), state (we just lost a governor) and even local (we just lost three firefighters).

    There is a web-site for folks who care:


  121. Candice February 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Okay maybe I am a little confused…why did the kid not say anything before he went with the great grandpa? I know my kids would have as kindergarteners.

  122. hineata February 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    @Mark – ta, that was really interesting 🙂

  123. bmj2k February 27, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    No joke, bear with me- same thing happened on an episode of The Flintstones. That was over 50 years ago, and back then all Fred was worried about was being clobbered by Wilma. Now yes, that was a silly cartoon, but it was aimed at adults (it featured cigarette ads where Fred and Barney lit up smokes). The point is, the “danger” was no less or no greater back then, but look how we go crazy now. This “stranger” was a relative of a student who was there for a legitimate reason who had no malicious intent but this is treated like a terrorist attack. We’ve gone from “depending on the kindness of strangers” to shooting them on sight.

  124. baby-paramedic February 27, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    The switcheroo comments reminded me about a trick two girls at my school tried to play. The three of us would have been 5 or 6, and we all looked enough alike that people routinely confused us (darker skin and long blonde hair is unusual), especially with those wide brim hats on.
    We got our hair done up the same (plaits I think) one day, then decided to see if we could swap places. I chickened out because I didn’t want to get into trouble, but the other two girls switched places in the bus/car waiting areas.
    In that case they didn’t manage to succeed (I don’t remember how their ruse was discovered, but it was fairly late in the game), but I do remember they both got a “detention” (had to wipe down the tables was the usual punishment), and we all got a talking to about why it was important to go to the right place after class so we got home safely.

    I had completely forgotten about that until other people mentioned it.

  125. Chihiro February 27, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    I’m also wondering how the heck this happened. I can understand how the great-grandfather may have been confused-he’s probably very old, possibly has visual impairments or memory difficulties, and may not see the boy often. But…this other kid just went with a total stranger? Just got in his car and let him drive away? At five years old, I could certainly tell my mother from a random old man, and I certainly wouldn’t be climbing into his car.

    That’s really the only thing in this story that compromised the kid’s safety. If the kid doesn’t know he shouldn’t be getting into a complete stranger’s car, he’s much more likely to become a victim of a kidnapping than he is if the school doesn’t check the ID of his mother every time she picks him up. Hell, any ‘kidnapping’ that would theoretically take place during pick-up hours would be stopped if a kid refused to get into a stranger’s car. So this mom basically wants the school to go nuts instead of teaching her son basic safety?

  126. Deb February 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    What a twat! She is seriously a trouble starting idiot! Was the child not smart enough to realize that the man picking him up was NOT his grandpa or anyone he knew? This stupid mother is just trying to get attention, and she is at that, from a media with lack of interesting stories. Ugh!

  127. athompson12 February 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    eeek this is disgusting…

  128. K.R. February 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    The Last Psychiatrist has a great analysis of this kind of Angry Mom character posting for the audience: She isn’t really so concerned about her kids’ safety, her mission is to display for all of us what kind of a person she is. The key phrase is this:

    “But why isn’t this just a case of a mom reacting angrily to her son getting hurt? Why can’t it just be that she wants to protect her son? Because the prepositional phrase is absent: protecting him from what?”

  129. SKL February 28, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    Oh yeah, I just remembered that my very rambunctious cousin was raised by her great-grandmother. Her mom flew the coop early on, then her dad was murdered as were both of her maternal grandparents. Nobody else was willing to take her on. So great grandma took care of her. It wasn’t always easy, but you do what you need to do when it matters.

  130. Julie Colwell February 28, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    When my son was in preschool, I had a toddler and an infant. On days we didn’t ride bikes to school, I used to leave them in the car for the three minutes it took me to collect my older one from his classroom. Then the director of the preschool read me the riot act for endangering my children. So I told her I was not about to take a sick toddler or a sleeping infant out in the rain to pick up my son. She told me to call the office when I got there and they would bring him to me. The FIRST time I called her, they brought me the wrong child!

    Stupid overreaction. No one was ever in any danger. The mom is understandably freaked out, but now she needs to chill out and get a grip.

  131. Julie Colwell February 28, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    And he wasn’t picked up by a “stranger”. He was picked up by another child’s great grandpa, not some crazy lunatic who wandered onto campus looking for stray kindergarteners!

  132. Ben February 28, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    Why didn’t the kid who got picked up by the wrong adult say anything before he even got in the car? It would have avoided a lot of hassle.

    He clearly doesn’t know great-grandad. Isn’t that reason enough to cause a fuss and resist? At least that is what I would’ve taught the kid.

  133. Bostonian February 28, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Every Parent’s Worse Fear

    I have worse fears. Usually they involve my children ACTUALLY BEING HURT.

    Your child might be with somebody you don’t know every day of the week. It’s called a Substitute Teacher. Heck, parents don’t usually know the teachers, the nurses, the administrators… The school can throw your kid in with somebody you don’t know any time they want to.

    Every parent showing ID sounds like a great solution in a “it will now take an hour and a half to pick up your kid” way.

  134. SOA February 28, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Julie: The difference is you immediately noticed that was not your child they brought out to you. Great Grandpa did not notice till he got the kid already home and even then did not notice till his wife came over and said “That is not the right kid”.

    Some kids are just either super meek and won’t speak up to adults or are super friendly and will just go with anyone. And you can’t always change that with training. My mom used to babysit a girl like that. She would just walk off with anyone. Many times in stores her mother would lose her and find her walking around with some random person just chatting away. And honestly if that person said “Okay get in the car” she probably would have. No matter how much her mother told her not to do that, she always did. So this kid could be like that or be the super meek kind of kid that just does not speak up to adults.

    Either way the kid is 5. So he holds the least amount of blame here. As his parent I would feel like I failed at teaching him not to get in cars with strangers, but I still put more of the blame on Great Grandpa for being that unaware of things and the person who thought letting Great Grandpa who is obviously not the most aware to be the pick up person.

    I would have told the woman, next time call me and I will drop the kid off for you because Great Grandpa does not seem good enough to even be driving if he is that unaware. At first I thought it was a case of maybe the car rider line and the kid just hopped in his car and so Great Grandpa drove off. I would not blame him as much if that was the case. But this man sought this kid out and took this kid by the arm, put this kid in the car and then drove off and spoke to the kid and never once realized it was the wrong kid till his wife told him so. If someone does not see a problem there with his hearing, vision or cognition then you are fooling yourself.

  135. Warren February 28, 2014 at 7:47 am #


    If anyone ever saw some of your paranoid idiotic rants on this site, they wouldn’t let you near their kids, let alone pick them up at school.

    You have no idea whatsoever about this grandpa, and yet because of one mistake, you are judging him as basically a senile, confused old man that shouldn’t be trusted.

    If you were to confront my bride the way you say you would handle this, bitching at her, insulting her granddad, you would most likely end up on your ass. I would be real careful who you approach like that.

  136. SOA February 28, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Your Bride lays a hand on me or anyone else she would find her butt in jail too for assault charges. I would think a grown adult would know better.

  137. SOA February 28, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say “Oh we should trust other parents and have a community” and then at the same time say “I only trust family to pick my kid up even if said family is elderly and not that familiar with my child so he gets the wrong kid.”

  138. Warren February 28, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Well Dolly,
    You said you would be bitching at her, and giving her grief about her grandpa. All she has to say is you are unstable, as seen by your actions, and my bride was defending herself. And considering how absolutely looney tune you are, I doubt anyone would back up your version.

  139. Warren February 28, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say “Oh we should trust other parents and have a community” and then at the same time say “I only trust family to pick my kid up even if said family is elderly and not that familiar with my child so he gets the wrong kid.”

    Dolly, I never said I would only trust family, or wouldn’t trust other parents. I just said there is no way in hell I would let a lunatic like you near my kids.

    You elderly hatred is pathetic, and I hope you get treated the same way when you hit that age.

  140. Taradlion February 28, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Commenting late, but seriously …

    My Grampa would have been 80/81 when my daughter was in kindergarten. He was delivering meals on wheels at age 88 (often to younger house bound seniors). He was perfectly capable of a school pick up.

    “Worst fear” -really? Mom’s worst fear is her kid going home with a classmate’s great grandfather? Not that her kid will be snached by a pedophile? or drown? or get childhood lukemia? Is her worst fear that all men are pedophiles? Wait, maybe her worst fear is that her kid will be hurt or killed in a car accident and driving with a senior is statistically more dangerous? She might be on to something.

    SOA “royally crewed up?” –
    What? Royally screwed up is giving a kid medication or food when you are AWARE they have a life threatening allergy. Royally screwed up is leaving your kid in a hot car all day because of change in routine. Horrible, tragic MISTAKE This was not tragic. Kid is fine. The grandfather didn’t let him ride in the front with no seatbelt (the way my my Grampa let me in the 70’s). The great grandfather didn’t hurt the child. Hech, the school (readonably) didn’t send the police to go get the kid. They told him to drive him back.

    How about empathy? The mom that’s flipping out couldn’t go get her own son because she runs a day care and could leave. How about understanding that sometimes, you might need to depend on some help with getting your kid home from school. If her kid got sick/injured while at school, presumably, she would need someone to pick him up OR someone to cover at her day care…

  141. Taradlion February 28, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Ugh. Stupid phone typos.

    School was reaSonable

    Flipping out mom could NOT leave to pick up her traumatized son.

  142. SOA February 28, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Warren: You are the one advocating violence. So I don’t think I appear as the unstable one. Just saying…..

    Do you think I am stupid enough to go somewhere alone with your wife? I would be having the talk with her right in front of the school administration. There would be witnesses.

  143. SOA February 28, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    I respect elderly enough to not make them do things that would stress them out and put them in a tough situation. Thus, why I don’t ask my grandparents to babysit my kids for more than a quick “Watch them while I run inside”. Because they should be able to relax as an elderly person and enjoy the kids without worrying about being responsible for them.

    It would not happen to me because I am making it very clear when I am a grand parent or great grandparent that I won’t be a surrogate parent. I will babysit if I think I can occasionally for fun but if not, then I will just tell them they better parent their own kids because I am not free daycare. I want to enjoy my grandkids and great grandkids and sometimes that means saying “I don’t think I am up to that.” I plan on enjoying my old age and I won’t agree to do something I don’t think I can handle like picking up a kid I am not that familiar with at school last minute. Not something I would agree to.

  144. E February 28, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    I listened to the whole speech she gave the school board — boy she was proud of that. At the end, she said that the school administrator, when with meeting her acknowledged that the changes made to the dismissal after this were like ‘shutting the barn door after the horse is out’ and the Mom added “you bet your ASS it is”. Boy, she was really waiting on that line. But yes, clearly the Administrator shared that viewpoint because she’s the one that said it!

    I can only presume this mother has led a very charmed life. When something actually bad happens to you or your family, you tend to not throw words like ‘tragedy’ ‘horrific’ ‘disaster’ around for things that aren’t.

  145. Lisa February 28, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    I would be so mad at my kid if she left school with someone without permission! I don’t understand blaming the school; it was dismissal time and the kid left with a known adult. Do they require school-age kids to be signed out? We have procedures in place at local preschools to be sure a child is only released to someone the parents have authorized, but not at the local elementary school – my kid could get a ride home with ANYONE. She didn’t, because I didn’t allow her to – she knew who she was allowed to get a ride home with, or she walked. IMO, that is between the parent and child. The grandfather made an honest mistake, but it’s because the kid pulled his hat down over his face. The child made a poor decision, and I can’t understand blaming anyone else for it. Again: I would be mad at MY KID, not at the person who accidentally drove the child home and then back to school. And I think she school’s solution was very nice – having a bus make an extra run to bring the kid home after he’d made a mistake and not gotten on his bus in the first place. When I was a kid, I fell asleep on the school bus, did not wake up until the bus was back at the lot and the drive walked the aisle to check for lost items, and they called my mom who had to pick me up. I was in so much trouble!

  146. E February 28, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    @SOA — that’s all great, that’s your perfect world scenario. But the world is made up of different people, different personalities, different necessities, different resources.

    As someone already pointed out, the irate Mom runs an in-home day care. If her child was ill, she would not be the one that was able to go get her child — she would have a plan B. Sometimes even plan B isn’t available.

    None of us know why the Great Grandpa was dispatched (as opposed to someone else). None of us know the Great Grandpa. Maybe he is not suited to perform this task, but maybe until this happened, no one realized that. My father suffered from Alz late in his life. There were things that occurred that did make us realize “hmm, something is going on here”. But until those things happen, well they haven’t happened.

    My takeaway from the whole thing is that the school had a dismissal system that some parents claim was already criticized as being poor. The school made changes to it. The kid is safe. All is well. Lessons learned all around (school, grandpa, kid that went with grandpa).

    The end.

  147. Warren February 28, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    No, I just said that my bride would not stand by and have you bitch at her and insult her family. And that she would not care about witnesses. You get in her space like that, and you are on your ass. Nothing illegal about it. Check your laws.

    Dolly, I beg you, to seek help. From being afraid to open the door for a stranger, to all your excuses to your hatred of the elderly, you are in dire need of help. Please get some.

  148. SKL February 28, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Dolly, I could see being upset with the choice of Gramps as chauffer if there had been a car accident or a child left to die in a hot car. But in this case, no harm was done. There is no reason to be so nasty.

    I don’t know what the guy’s mental capacity is, other than the fact that he was able to drive to the school, go in and retrieve a child without attracting any attention, buckle the child into the seat, speak to the child about why they’re going somewhere other than the child’s home, and drive home (and back again) without incident. And the fact that everyone involved in the decision to send Gramps to the school, i.e., the people who know him best, believed he was trustworthy enough to drive his actual great-grandson around. And the fact that the story says he was “known to the school” and yet his driving kids around didn’t strike anyone as concerning. And the fact that he has a driver’s license.

    I do know that 79 is not that old. Yes, there are some 79-year-olds who are going senile, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Many people that age still have all their faculties.

    And also, younger people make mistakes too. I have heard of many parents of young kids accidentally leaving one of their kids behind, for example. I mean, how do you do that? And yet it happens.

  149. lollipoplover February 28, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    “When I was a kid, I fell asleep on the school bus, did not wake up until the bus was back at the lot and the drive walked the aisle to check for lost items, and they called my mom who had to pick me up. I was in so much trouble!”

    That happened to my sister-in-law! Fell asleep on the bus and went back to the bus lot. She got picked up by her mom and a lecture about paying attention. End of story. School district administration were not involved.

    Now this makes the news. Yes indeed, times have changed.

    Since this mom made such a stink about this incident and gave interviews, allowed her son to be interviewed, wanted the police and CPS involved and made an emotional speech to the School Board calling out incompetence and demanding changes for the *safety* of students at pick up and dismissal. During ths process, her plea for safety goes viral, her son’s name, street, and town are now known to all. And we know she operates a daycare out of her home. Does she feel safer now with her personal information all over the world?

  150. marie February 28, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    During ths process, her plea for safety goes viral, her son’s name, street, and town are now known to all. And we know she operates a daycare out of her home. Does she feel safer now with her personal information all over the world?

    Haha! Now ALL the senile, peanut-carrying great-grandpas will be heading her way to pick up kids.

  151. SKL February 28, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Lollipoplover, I did notice that where they posted a photo of her family, they smudged out the kids’ faces. LOL.

  152. Donna February 28, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    “You can’t say “Oh we should trust other parents and have a community” and then at the same time say “I only trust family to pick my kid up even if said family is elderly and not that familiar with my child so he gets the wrong kid.””

    I didn’t say that. I have other parents pick up my kid. I also have my mother pick up my kid. It depends on WHY I need my child picked up by someone other than me. If I am sick and want my daughter to go spend the night at my mother’s house, I certainly don’t want to call a classmate’s parent to pick my daughter up and then call my mother to arrange for my mother to pick my daughter up from that friend’s house just because my mother doesn’t know the pick up procedures and may piss somebody off.

  153. Tana C February 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    1) Why didn’t she teach her kid to say, “I don’t know that man. I can’t leave with him?”

    2) How is this a parent’s worst nightmare? My worst nightmares involve terminal illness, blood, pain, death, worse than death, etc. My nightmares have never included well-meaning, responsible, somewhat unobservant grandpas.

  154. EricS February 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Wow!! “Band-aid” solutions. How about this “mom”, you teach your kid to distinguish between his (great) grandfather, and someone other kids. The extent to which the mother brought this issue is ridiculous. Everyone else is at fault, except her.

    DON’T rely on other people to protect your child, because “shit happens”. I think the old school ways need to be drilled into parents heads, especially like this ignorant mother. The BEST way to protect your child, is to teach THEM how to protect themselves. That is fact. Stop being lazy parents. Raising is child is hard work, it’s meant to be. If you don’t want to put the time in helping and teaching your children, don’t have kids.

    It was an honest mistake. This “stranger danger” is just one of the dumbest concepts ever. WE are ALL strangers. So if we go by this mentality, that mother is dangerous. The school principal is dangerous. The police are dangerous. etc…

    That being said, GREAT grandfather? Not knocking him, but that’s pretty old. It’s understandable how he could have easily mistaken the kids, and who would be walking who? lol

  155. E February 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    People can go on and on (and on ) about the Great Grandpa’s and/or the Kindergartner’s decisions making. Neither is really fair. You don’t know either of them. You don’t know what they know of the each other (or the actual great grandkid) or the specific dialog that took place.

    Perhaps the parents DID question the kid about why he went. And maybe his thought process was that he was a semi-familiar face, had made it to his classroom and had a reasonable reason for picking him up.

    Obviously mistakes were made….just like every one of us. Lesson learned and we move forward.

    I’ve contemplated things and made a decision and then regretted it. That’s how you build life experiences.

  156. EricS February 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    @Mike in Virginia: kindergarteners are more than capable of figuring things out on their own. So long as they have been taught early enough. In my day, it was a normal thing to see 5-6 year olds walking to school (usually with siblings or friends, sometimes by themselves). Or taking the school bus on their own. But we were taught early how to do those things on our own. What to watch out for, and what to do if certain situation arose. I’ve gotten lost as a kid. But I knew well enough about “bad” people, and “good” people. I went into a store, told the person behind the counter I was lost, and if I can use his phone to call home. I called my mom, she talked to the store owner, and then he told me how to get home from there. I never cried or freaked out. I was a little nervous, because I was a bit of shy kid, so took me some mustering to talk to the store guy. But after that, I realized “I can do this”. And every new challenge met and conquered, gave me more and more confidence and knowledge. Knowledge IS power. No matter how old you are.

    Children aren’t dumb. Far from it. But it all depends on how we teach them, and what we teach them. By the age of 3-4 they are capable of learning many things. Mine was groomed old school from the age of 2. He’s 7 now. But has stopped holding my hand when walking by the time he was 5. The only time he anyone hold his hand while walking, is when crossing the street. We even let him walk ahead of us. He knows perfectly well, not to run off, and to always keep within visual and audio distance. That’s about 10-15 feet for him.

    I always stress this, the best way to protect your children, is to teach them how to protect themselves. NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, can ever be around them 24/7, 365 days. Except themselves. Most kids I know from 5-7 can totally figure out who they know, and don’t know. Their survival/street smart instincts are much better than a lot of children. But only because their parents (friends of mine, and like minded adults) taught them how to.

    If you have in your head children are weak, and can’t figure things out on their own, you end up instilling that in them. Making them insecure, with little to know confidence. And they will always have the parents’ paranoia in them. Parents like this set up their children to fail right from the start. And then blame everyone else when they do.

    I don’t like the word “stranger”, it has a negative connotation, especially these days. We are all PEOPLE, and not all people are the same. And most, don’t mean any harm.

  157. Tannis February 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I was just coming here to see if you had gotten this story yet! I can’t believe the mother wanted the police called. I think its very sad the man didn’t recognize his own grandson (great-grandson possibly?) but it wasn’t a crime, and why on earth didn’t a 5 year old know the difference? It sounds like the school had a perfectly good policy and it wasn’t followed and now they will follow it, end of story! I’m glad to see several reasonable-minded comments in the comments page (USA Today article), not just alarmists!

  158. SKL February 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    It is funny that these people are willing to let journalists – complete strangers who are known voyeurs, known panderers, known users of other people’s personal information for profit – into their private lives without hesitation. (No offense, Lenore, I know you’re a journalist.) I don’t know about you guys, but when I see a TV camera around, my first instinct is to duck out (mainly because I’m probably having a bad hair day).

    Though I had a little incident of my own a couple of weeks ago, in which many people recommended I contact the media and start a stink. A public library which we do NOT use has sent my 7yo daughter to collections over a fine for materials she did NOT borrow. Their explanation is that someone must have entered my kid’s library card number online and ordered the materials or however that works. In other words, THEY had a security breach. So I’m told that either I have to pay the fine, or file a police report claiming someone stole the card (we still have the card), or they will put this item on my kid’s credit record after she turns 18. Yeah, I was hot. But I’m not looking for my 15 minutes of fame. I would rather get it resolved in some reasonable manner, privately. Though the idea of airing a cute photo of my lil vampire (toothless at present), as part of a shocking “think of the children” story, does sound a bit amusing.

  159. SOA February 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Warren: Show me where and what law states it is legal to physically touch and attack someone who is just telling you off. I would love to see that law.

  160. SOA February 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Well said EricS about the whole teaching your kids what to do and how they are capable. Very motivating.

  161. SOA February 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    SKL: I see the media as like a LAST resort. Like if you try every avenue possible to fix an injustice or problem and it doesn’t work, then I can see going to the media. So in your case, I would contact the police explaining it and talk to some of the higher ups in the library system, etc and go through all those avenues first. Then if they still did not fix it, I would consider calling the media. Only because they failed to fix it the many times I tried to work with them.

  162. Warren February 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Oh Dolly, you show me a state where someone feels threatened by another, is not allowed to take action to defend themselves?

    You really are that ignorant aren’t you?

    You get in someone’s face they have the right to protect themselve’s. They do not need to wait for you to swing first, they just need to feel threatened. And with a lunatic such as yourself, hell being in the same county is risky.

  163. Sarah February 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    When my son was that age (5) my grandparents, his great grandparents offered to pick him up from school and take him to the lego exibit at the library. I thought how sweet. I later found out that by take him, they meant take him, drop him off and retrieve him a few hours later. My mom told me I was lucky they didn’t give him a nickel and tell him to take the bus home. The worst thing that happened was my son lost his sweater. What ninnies that generation must think we are.

  164. SOA February 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Warren: Bull. Let’s ask the lawyers on the board shall we? So if a woman was talking angrily at another woman in broad daylight in a school building with several other school administrators and witnesses standing near by and the woman was completely unarmed and not making any threatening gestures, would a court of law and the police say the woman being talked to had a right to get violent in that situation because she felt “Threatened”???

    Because sorry Warren, I think you are going to lose this one. If that was the case, then you would see people getting beat up on the streets regularly every day because people have arguments and heated discussions every day and no, it is not considered okay to put your hands on them because of that.

  165. Warren February 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Dolly, you lose again.

    You should stick to peanut allergy foods and poptarts because you don’t know squat about anything else. It does not matter what the witnesses feel or think. If someone feels threatened, they have the right to protect themselves. And when the person is a raving lunatic that is unstable as you, no one would ever second guess it.

  166. SOA February 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    Right….I was not asking for you to answer, we have several lawyers that come on these boards, I would like to hear who they think is right.

    I can say the person that looks at me as I pass him on the sidewalk was “Threatening” me but that does not make it so. I would be held accountable should I turn around and shoot him or taze him or punch him.

    Just having words with someone is not threatening them. As someone who loves to argue and does not care what people think of him, I would think you would know that. People can argue and berate others all the live long day. It is not against the law. Or are you anti-free speech now? Oh but that is not very free range of you is it?

  167. Donna February 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    “A person is justified in threatening or using force against another person when, and to the extent that, he/she REASONABLY believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself/herself or a third person against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.

    The standard is whether the circumstances were such that they would excite (not merely the fears of the defendant but) the fears of a REASONABLE PERSON.

    The accused must truly have acted under the influence of these fears and not in a spirit of revenge.”

    Copied directly from the instructions read to a jury in a self defense case (in Georgia, but most state laws will be very similar). Note the highlighted portion requiring that the fears be REASONABLE to the average person and not the average hothead looking for a fight.

  168. SKL March 1, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    I just saw a news story where a 9yo boy was given medicine intended for another child, by school personnel, and he was hurt and hospitalized. Supposedly the boy even asked “why are you giving me these meds” and they obviously did not even check to see if they had the right kid. Now that is some crazy shit. And I assume these are professionals who are less than 79 years old and have a clear procedure to follow. :/ As far as I know, the parents haven’t demanded police and CPS involvement, though they have contacted a lawyer.

  169. Warren March 1, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    Poor Dolly,

    Having someone bitching at you and berating you isn’t free speech. Considering how unstable you are Dolly, if you were to confront my bride in this manner, she would consider you a threat and drop you on your fat ass. And you would be advised to stay down.

    People do not have to wait to be physically attacked to defend themselves. They are within their rights to act upon what they perceive as a threat.

    And Dolly, people are not confined to what you feel is a threat. They are allowed to make that call for themselves.

    You really need to join some sort of group therapy or private therapy, maybe a few months of residential treatment, but do something before it is too late.

  170. SKL March 1, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    Warren, why is it that you must resort to talk of physical violence so often? You are the only person here, or anywhere online, whom I’ve seen doing this. It isn’t exactly civil discourse.

    I don’t agree with Dolly on the ageism thing, but the whole “my bride” thing is actually more disturbing. I thought you had a kid in college, so have you recently remarried, or do you just have a weird way with words? And fantasizing about two moms having a knock-down-drag-out in the street?

    Now I’m sure you will come back with either “I’m sorry poor you were born without brains” or “F you” but I shall try my best not to engage further with you.

  171. Warren March 1, 2014 at 3:30 am #

    I refer to my wife as my bride from time to time.

    Secondly that idiot Dolly said had it been her she would be in the face of the mom that sent the granddad. Bitching at her and lecturing her on her choice of person to pick up her own kid. Do that to my wife/bride, and you run the risk of getting a shot in the yap. Not hard to understand, even for you.
    Nothing illegal or wrong with it. You don’t like it, well sucks to be you. We do not take crap off anyone, and do not allow irrate morons to violate our personal space.
    Like the saying goes….Do unto others, before they have chance to do unto you. And a good strong two handed shove to the chest usually does the trick.

    And I know yada yada yada violence never solves anything crap……….well that is wrong. I have found that when you drop someone, they tend to learn the lesson, and never bother you again. So yes problem solved.

  172. Judith Waldert March 1, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    SOA you are displaying another trait that is deplorable: Ageism. You are assuming that if a person is a great grandparent that they are incapable of caring for a child. Each individual is different. I live in a Sr. living community where there are people who are incapable of caring for a child. But—there are also great grandparents who go cross country skiing, hiking and zip lining. It is up to the parents to determine the capability of family members.

  173. Donna March 1, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Warren, you just ignore facts that don’t fit your outburst of the moment don’t you? It isn’t just what your wife perceives as a threat. It is what a REASONABLE person would perceive as a threat of imminent violence. Reasonable people do not perceive someone bitching at them as a threat of an imminent punch. It is obnoxious and I would not stand there and listen to it, but it is not a threat of immediate physical violence.

    And according to your Facebook page, you aren’t even married.

  174. Warren March 1, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    Well Donna,
    Someone comes into my space bitching and lecturing about stuff that is not any of their business, then yes I can take that as a threat. I do not exactly know what your standards are, but I have had them clearly defined here in Ontario. Reasonable to one is not reasonable to another. It is all in perspective. Same as when it comes to perceiving a threat, citizens are not held to the same standard as law enforcement. And that is straight from the courts.

    As for my facebook page, I guess that overrules the provincial law of common law marriage, in your legal opinion. I hope you do better research for your clients than just facebook. I would hope that you are much smarter than that.

  175. Donna March 1, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    No, Warren, for it to be self defense the threat has to be reasonable to both you AND the AVERAGE person acting in the same circumstances, not just you. It is not about perception. It is about what is reasonable. Hot heads don’t get to blow their stack physically at everyone just because they have anger management problems.

    And, refusing to claim your wife as your wife in even the most basic of social situations is the complete antithesis of what is required for a common law marriage. It takes more than just living together to form a marriage, common law or otherwise.

  176. Donna March 1, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    And, Warren, your numerous obnoxious comments spurred me to see what you looked like, but you don’t interest me beyond the 5 seconds that took while I was on hold with the cable company. I have no interest in doing a full background check on you nor do I care in the least whether you are really married and have kids or not. I simply found it interesting that you gush about your wonderful bride here all the time and don’t even claim her as your wife on Facebook.

  177. SKL March 1, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Well, unless Warren is writing from a prison cell, he’s obviously a blow-hard. Anybody who really behaved that way in real life would be locked up.

  178. SOA March 1, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    So now I am fat? Since when? How do you know whether or not my ass if fat exactly? If you want I would love to compare ass sizes against your wife. I bet mine might be smaller.

    Warren, you live in your own little world. This is not the wild west. You cannot legally attack someone just for yelling at you or berating you. Especially when there would be other witnesses who would testify that I never laid a hand on her or said anything even threatening physical violence toward her.

    If yelling at someone was a crime we would have a jail on every street corner.

  179. SOA March 1, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    And for the record, I really don’t even yell if I feel the need to take someone to task. I don’t curse either. I just am really good at talking meanly and it puts them in their place. So yeah, even less of a chance your wife would have the right to touch me if all I am doing is doing some shade throwing in her direction and putting her down.

  180. Warren March 1, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Donna, because we do not use facebook to reveal everything about ourselves, it voids our relationship. You just proved how fucking much of an idiot you really are. What a joke. You and Dolly are a match made in heaven.

  181. SKL March 1, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Donna, just out of curiosity, how did you get Warren’s facebook address, and have you been checking us all out as well? Not that I have anything for the public to see on facebook….

  182. Donna March 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    SKL – Read the comments section of any article that Lenore links on her blog. Warren posts numerous comments which are all of the same ilk as what he posts here so it is obvious that it is him. He uses his full name which is an uncommon name. While reading this article and seeing yet another post from Warren calling everyone on the planet other than himself a moron, I decided to look him up on Facebook to see if the picture I had of him in my head was anywhere near close. It was.

    No, I haven’t searched anyone else. I’m not that interested. If Warren hadn’t posted a bunch of obnoxious comments under his full name, I never would have taken the 5 seconds to look him up either.

    Warren – So you go to the effort of listing your relationship status, listing the name of the other person in the relationship and linking to her Facebook page, but specifically choose not to designate yourself as married because the act of marriage is some great secret that we all typically hide from our friends and family? Yea, that makes perfect sense.

  183. SKL March 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Donna: ah, I see.

    Yeah, most people aren’t that interesting, unless you’re going to meet up in real life or share something really important.

  184. jackketch March 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    Grandpa should thank his lucky stars he wasn’t here in the UK. He’d have been arrested for being a paedophile for sure and, heaven forfend, he had lit a cigarette while driving…I think even the Brit Police are now allowed to used terminal force when they are confronted by such a heinous ‘crime’.

  185. SOA March 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Donna: you are awesome. That is all.

  186. Beth March 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    Putting on Facebook that I’m married voids my relationship? In what way, pray tell? As far as I can tell, I’m still married (and not just because Facebook says so!).

  187. Warren March 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    Sorry Donna, we are not all anal morons like you that has to keep our Facebook page up to date in line with other people’s standards.

    My bride and I are well aware of our relationship, and are secure in it. Sorry that you need to publicly announce yours to validate it.

  188. Carrie March 2, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    This reminded me of something that happened to us. My mother in law offered drop my son off at his preschool school. Although I gave her detailed directions and instructions, she had never been to the school and ended up dropping him off at the wrong school. Some other school, several blocks away had my 3 year old son and had no idea who he was. My mother in law didn’t realize her mistake and neither did I, until hours later when his actual school called me to tell me that he was dropped off at the wrong school.
    You know what? It was kind of comical. I wasn’t scared or angry. He was safe. He thought it was fun, even. My mother in law felt awful about it and was so embarrassed. She was worried I’d be afraid to leave her with the kids. It was a harmless mistake. She took him to a school, the one he said was his, the people working there let him in, and he was in no danger. It’s not like she dropped him off in a bar or left him in the middle of the woods.

  189. Kai Price March 2, 2014 at 6:07 am #

    I guess Mommy was really starved for attention.

  190. lollipoplover March 2, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    After all the ageism and bashing of this grandpa, I found this story so refreshing:

  191. SOA March 2, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    I have high expectations of anyone watching my children. I expect them to know what the heck is going on. If they can’t do that, no big deal, but then I am not having you babysit. My mom is a little kooky but she is at least aware enough not to pick up the wrong kid or do something similarly senile.

  192. hineata March 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    @SOA – it was, again, not senile in this case to grab the wrong, incredibly bundled up child, it was simply a hilarious error.

    I am glad all over again that this sort of overreaction would be unlikely to occur in GodZone. While it’s not the same distance, I cannot tell you how many incidences of parents taking the wrong child out of the kiwi house at Wellington Zoo are, and I suspect the same would be true of Auckland (kiwi are nocturnal birds, and their enclosure is extremely dark). I myself have grabbed random little kids I thought were my own, and others have taken mine. Fortunately those houses are not big, and mistakes are corrected outside. No one actually wants to take home someone else’s kid. As was not this great-granddad’s purpose.

  193. SKL March 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Oh, this reminds me of another case of mistaken identity.

    My younger sister had a tall, slim neighbor-friend who apparently didn’t look all that different from me. One day my mom was ticked off at me and came upstairs to give me what-for. She busted into the room I shared with my sister and lifted her hand to whack me. Upon seeing the horrified face of my sister’s friend, she stopped and explained, “oh, I thought you were [Myname].” Disaster narrowly averted. It is one of those family stories we tell, and of course always ends with what that girl must have told her mother when she got home. LOL.

  194. buffy March 3, 2014 at 4:24 am #

    Gosh, why do people bother with divorces and lawyers, when just putting the fact that you’re married on FB voids the entire marriage??

  195. katie March 3, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Just an AFHM and the usual idiotic mainstream media and schools systems that play to their insanity.

    AFHM’s have absolutely zero perspective on life. They would benefit from a week in the 3rd world with their special snowflakes.

  196. Beth March 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    AFHM? All I can find online is Alternative Fair Housing Marketing.

  197. Warren March 4, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Donna, so if a man does not put being married as his facebook status, and does not list his kids, then I suppose should the relationship end……..he does not need to get a divorce, nor is he required to pay spousal or child support. Thank you this is good advice from a so called lawyer.

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  199. Buffy March 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Warren, YOU are the one that said “it voids our relationship”, about posting that you’re married on Facebook. It is a curiosity that you think a marriage can be voided that way, and blaming someone else for that statement is ridiculous, even for you.