Mom: School let 5-year-old leave with 1st grader

March 1, 2011 7:03:32 AM PST
Mary Allen of Camden could barely contain her anger over what she calls a lesson in incompetence - learned the hard way.

According to Mary, her 5-year-old son Maurice disappeared from Wiggins Elementary School in Camden three times this month.

In each case, the 5-year-old was signed out by and was allowed to leave with an 8-year-old girl named Mary - a girl he has never met. Mary says the teacher replied to her that Maurice knows the girl.

"And I said 'Maurice knows the guy from McDonald's! He calls him his brother!" Mary said. "He's five!"

Mary says her babysitter called, understandably concerned, on February 17th, when Maurice failed to meet her as usual.

Nearly a half hour later he showed up at the school office, where Mary says he'd been signed out earlier.

The person given permission to take him was a first grade girl with her name written in child's handwriting, Mary says, right in front of a teacher.

"They told me it was inappropriate, it shouldn't have happened, it will never happen again," Mary said.

But, Mary says, despite those assurances, it did happen again, on February 24th. Plus, she also learned it happened earlier in the month as well.

According to her, parents are required to submit a list of names of people authorized to pick up their children from school.

"And they're supposed to be carded for ID every day," Mary said.

Action News reached the assistant superintendent for Camden City Schools by phone. The Assistant Superintendent declined our request for an on camera interview, but said an internal investigation is under way and so far revealed proper protocol was followed.

That is despite what Mary says she saw with her own eyes - the sign out sheet, which school officials tell Action News they are looking into.

In the meantime, Mary Allen has filed a complaint with the Department of Youth and Family Services which is launching an investigation.

"If an 8-year-old can come and take my child out, and that's not being questioned, if there's a man or a woman or a random person that comes and takes my son out, is this going to be acceptable to them?" Mary said.