Should the mother of a child who was almost picked up from school by a stranger call the police? | LawHive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
Should the mother of a child who was almost picked up from school by a stranger call the police?
England- So this just happened to my sister in law and she in unsure what to do. Yesterday during the school day a man attempted to pick up their child from the school using their daughters first name. For context my niece is in reception. The man did not know her sirname or what class she was on but he insisted he was her brother. The school bought her out to him and tried to send her home with the man but luckily my niece said that she didn't know him and refused to go with him. The school did not inform my sister in law of the incident until she questioned them this morning after being told by niece what happened. The school corroborated the story but claim it was a case of mistaken identity. They never informed the police and will not confirm to my sil whether he picked up another kid from a different class. Should my sil call the police to be safe or could this genuinely be the case because it feels to me like a teacher seriously fucked up in their duty of care and is trying to hide it. Edit- forgot to specify part of UK

Andrea Abadie

1st October 2021

+1404

1407 upvotes

Top Answer
Not only the police but the local authority, the school majorly fucked up here.

Daniel Kelly

31st January 2022

+1080

1083 upvotes

The school should have a procedure for recording cases like this, and it's inexplicable that they did not speak to your sister in law as soon as possible. She should start by requesting a full explanation in writing from the school, and if dissatisfied, escalate using their complaints procedure. She could report it to the police, but realistically at this stage there may not be any more they can usefully add - and as you have noted, it may be nothing more than a mistake by the school which although concerning from a safeguarding point of view is unlikely to amount to anything for the police to get involved in.

Gloria Lunde

31st January 2022

+142

145 upvotes

The fact that a man turned up at a school, asked for a child by their first name only, didn't know their surname, or what class they're in *and* claimed to be a relative, is worrying in itself. If it was me as the teacher I'd be calling parents before taking any kid out to him, even if he knew the surname etc especially if they've never picked them up before. It may be a mistake, but do you really want to take the risk that he goes to another school and manages to leave with a child? You need to report this, our the kids parents do at least. If it's nothing, no harm. If it's something...

Debora Lebrecque

31st January 2022

+148

151 upvotes

He said he's her brother but didn't know her surname? Is that teacher stupid? I'd say inform the police.

Richard Briggs

31st January 2022

+533

536 upvotes

Primary Headteacher here. All schools should have a procedure for this that is written into policy that is ratified by the school's governing body. My school's policy is that only those listed as contacts on our information management system can collect a child (primary carers provide this info when the child joins the school). Even then, we would want to know from the primary carer if another adult is collecting for the first time so we can have eyes on them and for future collections e.g. A grandparent. If a person we didn't know came to collect a child, we would be asking for details e.g surname of the child being a key one! And reasons for wanting to collect as well. If in doubt, we would call the primary caregiver to check. No person collecting a child should mind this safety check as it's in the child's best interest. Your family is lucky that your niece said she didn't know the man but it never should have got as far as her being taken to see him. This is a big safeguarding issue and could have potentially been much, much worse. I can't advise what to do with regards to the police or the law, but for contacting the school, I would do the following: 1. Ask for their safeguarding policy and their collection of children policy (may be called something slightly differently, but a policy where it outlines the school's procedure for how children are collected). You may be able to find these on the school website. Ask for their complaints procedure and then follow it. Schools are bound by their policies and I am pretty sure you will find they've broken them in multiple places here. 2. Email the headteacher and safeguarding lead and make a complaint. Ask for them to investigate what happened in relation to your niece being almost collected by a stranger, including why your SIL wasn't informed. If this gets you nowhere, go to your school chair of governors, your local authority or if the school is part of an Academy, the CEO. And keep going with it! Because the school can't undo what happened, but they certainly can and should improve their safeguarding practices e.g ensure staff understand policy, train any staff that were involved in making the wrong calls here, perhaps amend their policies too. Safeguarding of children should be paramount to every single adult working in every single school and if its not in your niece's school, I would seriously consider if its the right place for her to learn. Good luck!

Leon Mcrae

31st January 2022

+478

481 upvotes

There will be CCTV footage, contact the police, the governors and local council to make sure the recording in preserved. Most systems will only store for 30 days so the quicker you act the better. It only takes 5 minutes and just requires a usb stick.

Karla Khalaf

31st January 2022

+37

40 upvotes

She should report it to both the police and the local authority because that's a complete failure in safeguarding. It shouldn't rest on a young child to inform their teacher that the person they're trying to send them home with is a stranger. The fact that something COULD have happened if it hadn't been a case of mistaken identity is enough to report it to everyone concerned. And them trying to cover up the situation afterwards is very concerning. It shows that their priority is not the welfare of the children in their care.

Rachel Mcdowell

31st January 2022

+35

38 upvotes

I think you should definitely contact the police and take it up further with the school. If this happened to me I would be extremely concerned with why someone knew the child’s name and asked for them. The school should not be giving children to just anyone, there should be a procedure in place, such as the parent consents to it and the school is aware of who is collecting the child that day. Definitely pursue this as much as you can, who knows what his intentions were. If it was mistaken identity when she came out, he would’ve known it weren’t his sister. The school should’ve known with failure to provide a surname.

Lorene Bledsoe

31st January 2022

+9

12 upvotes

I think it is worth while to call the police and to get this logged into their system. There may be other incidences and they might want to decide to request a copy of the CCTV.

Cheryl Barra

31st January 2022