Spring Valley mom says school released autistic son to wrong person

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - With kids across the county going back to school, one Spring Valley mother told Team 10 she got a big scare because her autistic son's school released him to another family by mistake.

Angela Thomas feared the worst when she went to pick up her 5-year-old autistic son from his first day of kindergarten at Loma Elementary School. She was there at 2:15 p.m. when school let out, but Micah was not there.

"Everything was going through my mind," Thomas recalled. "Did someone take him? Is he hurt?"

His teacher did not know where he was. The teacher asked the school psychologist, who was shadowing Micah, if he knew.

"At first he said no, but then he said yes, he went off with a man and a woman. And I proceeded by saying who? They didn't know who," Thomas said.

It turned out there was a miscommunication. Micah's babysitter picked him up a few minutes before school ended. Thomas found him safe at home an hour and a half later.

What is frustrating is that Thomas said the babysitter is not on the approved list to pick Micah up. She said Micah's babysitter never signed in at the office and was able to get on campus with ease.

"Regardless if his nanny or babysitter went to go pick him up, the bottom line is it was before school got out," Thomas said. "She should have filled out the book."

She wrote the superintendent a letter, calling the experience her "biggest nightmare."

Superintendent Brian Marshall told Team 10 he could not talk about this particular case, but said adults must sign students out if picking them up before school ends. Identification is checked.

Marshall said the school's procedures are a "pretty complete process" and they are always looking "to ensure student safety."

About 30 minutes after Team 10 talked to Marshall, Thomas received a call as well.

"He told me that he's definitely taking this very seriously," Thomas said. She said he apologized for what happened.

At this point, she is still waiting to talk with the principal in either a meeting or a phone call.  She is looking for an apology directly from the school.

"This could have all been avoided if that book and those procedures were implemented," Thomas said.

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