So the other day when I went to pick up my son from the bus stop, lo and behold, he did not get off the bus. I called the school right away and found out that he was still there and had not been kidnapped by the circus (phew), but thanks to this misunderstanding, I now had to go and pick him up. That was a little stressful, but after reading this story, it's quite clear how minor this little incident was. Here is a grandfather who picked up the wrong little girl from school, took her to the doctor, and sent her home with medication. THE WRONG KID ALL THE WAY.
How many childcare fails do you need for this to happen? It's like none of the adults in this story had ever laid eyes on the child.
1. Grandpa picks up the wrong kid. Scary, but understandable. Perhaps he has dementia -- he's in his 70s. Maybe he's hiding his degenerative state, or maybe the girl's parents know but are desperate for childcare.
2. School administrators/teachers let her go. So Grandpa shows up to take his granddaughter to the doctor, and the staff brings him the wrong child. To be fair, the two girls had the same name and were in the same grade. But still, if you're excusing a kid from your class to go off with another adult, don't you think it would behoove you to make sure you're not sending off the wrong Sally? The poor girl, whose parents say she's shy, was terribly confused and couldn't bring herself to speak up and ask why a stranger was taking her to the doctor when she wasn't sick.
3. The doctor treated the wrong kid. Does your child's pediatrician recognize your child? My doctor's practice is large, and we only go for checkups once a year. I don't think our pediatrician would recognize my son. Still, this little girl was handed medication (I don't think she'd actually taken it). How did that even happen? Were the meds based on her exam -- the exam of an otherwise perfectly well child? WTF?
So imagine what happens when this little girl comes home and informs her parents that some old guy picked her up, took her to a doctor, and gave her this medicine here in this bag. You would freak the eff out, right? The girl's father said:
I went ballistic. I was boiling inside. The first thing I thought was the worst. I had to ask my daughter the sort of questions no parent ever wants to ask: 'Did he do this, did he do that?'
Ugh, I can just imagine. What a mess. At least she hadn't actually taken the meds yet.
Meanwhile, the school administration is investigating the incident so they can find out how this happened. "I have also spoken with the mother of this child to offer our sincere apologies over this regrettable incident and to assure her that we are reviewing all our safeguarding policies – with the help of the council – to ensure this never happens again," says head teacher Zerina Slade.
Anyway, maybe this is a good time for all to re-think our safety measures. Is there more than one kid with your child's name in the classroom? Who do you talk to when your child has a doctor's appointment? Have you had that important conversation with your child -- the one that goes something like, "If a strange old man says he's supposed to take you to the doctor, please, say NO"? This poor little girl must have had one terribly confusing day.
Can you imagine this ever happening to your child?
Image via Spirit Fire/Flickr