A Scarborough mother says her family was put through a terrifying afternoon after her six-year-old son was mistakenly pulled out of school and taken by the Children’s Aid Society for almost three hours Tuesday.
The woman, who CityNews has decided not to identify in order to protect the identity of the other child, said she was first alerted that something was wrong when she got an automated call from Walter Perry Public School informing her that her son was not in class.
“I called and I asked, ‘How is my son absent when I dropped him from school this morning?’” the mother said Wednesday.
The woman says she was then told by a staff member the boy’s grandmother had picked him up from school around noon. A quick check with the boy’s grandmother proved that was not the case.
“I nearly fainted four times,” she said. “That’s when I started to make my walk down to the school.”
An hour later, the woman said staff explained that her son was accidentally taken out of school due to a case of mistaken identity. A volunteer driver for Children’s Aid allegedly came to the school and asked to pick up a child using his first-name only. Two children go to Walter Perry Public School with that name. Someone in the school assumed it the woman’s son and pulled him from class. The boy was reportedly told by staff that his grandmother had come to take him home.
“He went and once he seen that (it wasn’t her), he stated, ‘That’s not my grandmother.’ He said that’s when the volunteer driver took him by the arms and brought him to the car and roughly placed him inside the vehicle,” she said.
The mother says it wasn’t until the boy arrived at the Children’s Aid Society offices and another mother commented they have the wrong boy that he was returned to the school.
“He arrived maybe 15 minutes to 3 p.m., and he was like, ‘Mom, a stranger took me,’” she said. “And I cried.”
The Children’s Aid Society did not return CityNews’ request for comment on their pickup protocol.
The Toronto District School Board said students were manning the office when the mixup happened. An investigation is underway and a school staff member has been sent home until the probe is complete.
“It would appear to be a horrible case of mistaken identity,” TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said. “This should never have happened.”
The boy’s mother says in total, she went through about an hour of not knowing her son’s location and who had taken him.
“It felt like I failed my son because no matter what, I feel like it’s my responsibility to keep him safe,” she said.
A superintendent has since called the boy’s mother to apologize and offer services to help the boy feel secure in school.