SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The superintendent of the Schenectady City School District admits there are a number of things the district should have done differently that would have prevented a five-year-old from spending the entire day at the wrong school.
The kindergartner is a student at Howes Elementary School but spent the day in a first grade classroom at Yates Magnet School instead. The district released a statement that said the “student misled school administrators and teachers by assuming the identity of a new student, one whom the school was expecting.”
The statement had many parents thinking the district was
trying to put the blame on the student.
Superintendent Larry Spring said he regretted how people
perceived the statement.
“We are not blaming the kids, but she threw a level of
confusion in for our staff,” he said.
He maintains the district is fully responsible to account
for the actions the five-year-old took.
“This is a five-year-old,” he said. “They do those kinds of
Spring said the incident could have been avoided if the
procedure of calling a child's parent when they are absent from school had been
“It we had followed that procedure, this would have been a
non-issue,” he said.
In this case, Spring said someone from Howe Elementary
should have been called.
“The person who typically would do that was not at school at
the time,” he explained. “Why someone else didn't do that, we are trying to
figure that out.”
Spring said that should never happen again, and they will
make sure staff throughout the district know that protocol.
“We would have never dreamt that a
student might think it was fun to take on an identity,” he said.
Spring said the district would now
start a new procedure at registration to prevent something like this incident from
“When students register, we will take
a picture and upload it into a database,” he said.
But there was also an issue with
school transportation. Spring said the five-year-old got on the wrong bus that
took her to Yates.
“I spoke with the mom and she said we
should have gotten her [daughter] on the right bus,” Spring explained. “I explained
to her we can make the bus routes more clear.”
Spring said the district is still
discussing how to clarify the bus routes.