An employee with D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency took an eight-year-old student from his classroom at Harriet Tubman Elementary last month. It turned out he was not the kid they were looking for.
The incident that took place on January 31 was first reported by the Washington City Paper.
After the child welfare agent introduced himself to the school administration as a case worker for the boy’s father, showing his government badge, the Columbia Heights school handed over the misidentified boy to the worker.
The family of the second-grader found out that he was missing when they arrived at the school to pick him up later in the day. They panicked and searched for the kid for an hour.
The agency employee later returned the kid to his parents. However, the family remained confused over the unusual mistake.
“I just can’t understand,” Jason Myers, the boy’s grandfather, told the City Paper. “Anyone can come with a badge and take anyone’s kid.”
In an interview with the The Washington Post, Brenda Donald, the director of the Child and Family Services Agency, said:
“He’s a little kid, and usually the schools are trying to explain in a nice way that here’s a nice person from CFSA who is going to take you to McDonald’s to have lunch… It was a mistake, and it’s explainable. And again, I can understand the family being upset.”
According to Donald, the agent had not seen the child he was tasked with picking up from the school before and the one he accidentally took did not ask him any questions.
The agency is in charge of providing safety and well-being for the District’s children.