DC Public Schools

DC Child Welfare Worker Picked Up Wrong 8-Year-Old From School

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An 8-year-old boy went missing from a D.C. school for several hours after a child welfare worker who went to pick up one child accidentally left with another.

The child was picked up from Tubman Elementary School in Columbia Heights on Jan. 31, school principal Amanda Delabar said in a letter shared with parents on Monday, more than a week later.

The student "went briefly missing from school premises after being picked up incorrectly by Child and Family Services and was safely returned thanks to the responsiveness of MPD and staff," the principal said.

The child was OK and was reunited with his family.

Tubman Elementary has a strict policy on who can pick up students. But it's unclear whether those procedures were followed, schools chancellor Lewis Ferebee said.

"What the breakdown was in the communication or the specifics around what occurred is still under review," he said. "We will hold staff accountable."

According to a police report, the boy was reported missing at about 3:45 p.m. Jan. 31, when school was being dismissed. The boy's grandfather told Washington City Paper that when he went to pick him up, no one at the school knew where he was. City Paper was first to report the incident.

It turned out that the boy had been picked up by a Child & Family Services Agency employee who was at the school to pick up another child. The students shared an unusual first name, The Washington Post reported.

School surveillance video helped police figure out who took the boy.

The school's principal was set to hold a meeting with parents Wednesday night. She apologized for not sharing information with parents sooner.

"We have made every effort to protect the student's and family's privacy," she wrote.

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