Grandparent picks up wrong student from school

Sterling Community School

Angry parents pointed their criticism to the superintendent and a school principal in Sterling, Conn. Tuesday night after a man mistakenly took the wrong boy home from the school at dismissal time last week.

A grandfather picked up the wrong student from inside the Sterling Community School Friday afternoon and drove off with the 5-year-old boy.

Parents, including those of the boy who was taken to the wrong house, were livid with school officials, both that it happened in the first place and at how the officials responded.

They repeatedly chastised school leaders at a town board of education meeting. The boy's mom, Angela Stone, was among those who spoke out.

She told the story of what happened to her son, as it was relayed to her.

Stone said her son questioned the man as they were driving and then refused to get out of the car when they arrived at the man's home. She says the man's wife realized it was the wrong boy.

The Stones and other parents are outraged that police were not called right away.

Superintendent Rena Klebart admitted to the crowd that school leaders dropped the ball on that.

"I'm not going to make any excuses for that," she said.

Stone called the principal and superintendent incompetent and wants them to face punishment.

"We feel extremely blessed that our son was returned to us and physically unharmed. This unbelievable and terrifying incident that our family has been through has put the spotlight on our school's lack of security," she said.

"I absolutely know the lapse was a problem and my heart goes out to them," Klebart told NBC 10.

The school has changed pick-up rules, including requiring those picking up students to show identification.

But parents say they had raised concerns about pick-up time repeatedly in the past.

"We had all expressed that dismissal time was a disaster waiting to happen. And this past Friday that disaster became my family's reality. It infuriates me that it took this incident for administration to make the beginning steps of policy change," Stone said.

Why weren't changes made earlier?

"Quite frankly, that is something we are going to look at, why that wasn't strongly communicated," Klebart said.

The incident is still under investigation in coordination with state police.