A Springfield mom is hugging her son a little tighter after she said school officials allowed him to leave school Monday with a stranger.
Melissa Landrum said she called Snyder Park Elementary School Monday afternoon to let them know that her eight-year-old son, Liam Landrum, was to be picked up by his aunt.
It was around that same time that another woman arrived at the school to pick up a great-nephew that she hadn’t seen in awhile.
Landrum said the secretary pulled her son out of his classroom and told him to leave with the woman — even though Liam told the secretary the woman wasn’t his aunt.
“(The secretary) told him you have to go and forced him out the door,” Landrum said.
She said the secretary never asked for Liam’s name and the woman was not on the list of people who are permitted to pick her son up from school.
Springfield City School District said in a statement it is aware of the incident, made immediate personnel changes and is reviewing procedures.
Landrum said the woman reached out to her on Facebook after seeing a post from Landrum about the incident.
According to Landrum, the woman thought her great-nephew had just changed physically, and she didn’t realize that Liam wasn’t the child she was supposed to be picking up until she and Liam got back to her house.
Liam asked the woman about his parents.
The woman showed Liam pictures of her great-nephew’s dad, which the boy said he didn’t recognize, according to Landrum. She said the woman realized the mix-up and took Liam safely back to the school about 25 minutes after he was picked up.
“It’s crazy to me to think that whoever could’ve walked into that building next could’ve [taken] my son home, could’ve taken my son anywhere,” Landrum said.
Liam said the woman was nice to him, but he was “feeling a lot happier” when he was taken back to school and in the safe care of his aunt.
Landrum said she’s been in contact with the district since the incident, but she doesn’t feel confident about sending Liam back to school. She hopes the district makes changes so that another family doesn’t have to experience what she did.
“There are all these protocols in place so that random people do not walk into the school and take off with whatever child they want to. For whatever reason, none of these protocols were followed,” Landrum said. “He could’ve been states away before I got back to him. He could’ve been dead.”
A spokeswoman for Springfield City School District sent this news organization a statement which reads in part, “The District has activated all available resources in investigating the matter. Immediate personnel changes occurred and District leaders are expediting an immediate review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that an incident such as this does not occur again.”
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