MEMPHIS, TN— Keeping students safe from harm, but one mother says Memphis City School dropped the ball. There's a protocol for sending students home, rules to make sure child predators don't get their hands on your pride and joy, but a frightened Cordova mother says her child's school broke the rules.
A man called Cordova Middle School to say he was coming to pick up his daughter. The office staff notified the student, who thought that sounded strange because the teenager hasn't seen her dad in 7 years. So she called her mother and that's when fear set in.
"I called the police because I didn't know if it was some creep or what,” said MCS mom Alicia Brown.
Brown panicked when her 13-year-old daughter called to tell her a man, claiming to be her father, was coming to school to pick her up.
“She doesn't have a dad listed on file with the school,” said Brown.
Dad hasn't been in the picture in years and Brown's daughter, a 7th grader at Cordova Middle, usually takes the bus home so red flags popped up left and right for Alicia.
"It's very upsetting but luckily she was smart enough to call me because she knew something wasn't right,” the mother said.
According to MCS policy, no one can pick up a child unless the parent or legal guardian adds that person's name to the student's school file. Brown says the staff at Cordova Middle failed to follow the district's own rules.
"They didn't follow protocol. They should've asked the caller's name and they should've looked in her file and see if that person was authorized,” said Brown.
Brown immediately went to the school to pick up her daughter and confronted the principal.
"She grabbed my hand and said, ‘oh honey it was just a mistake no big deal.’ They blew me off completely and it was a huge deal,” Brown stated.
MCS emailed us this statement: "The message was mistakenly given to the wrong student. We are extremely apologetic and have put safeguards in place to ensure this does not happen again."
To this day, Brown has no idea if that man who called was the father of another student or just a stranger trying to snatch her child.
“They didn't handle it appropriately; the principal should've contacted me when it happened," said Brown. “Other parents should know they're not following protocol.”
The school says the dad who called was legit. He has a child at Cordova Middle whose first name is the same as Brown's daughter. MCS recommends parents should follow the MCS safety protocol that requires parents to use a special code to check a student out of class.