A Bronx father says he's furious after his 4-year-old daughter was picked up from school by a livery cab driver who was apparently supposed to retrieve another girl who had a similar name.
Fitzroy Melon said a cab driver who went to PS 78 at dismissal time Tuesday to pick up a student named Melina was instead allowed to pick up his daughter Malia.
Melon and the girl's mother spent the next two hours in a state of panic.
"It was just very chaotic," he said. "It was something I don't think any parent should ever go through at all. It's something I wouldn't ever expect from a public school in New York City."
He added, "That could have been anybody. Any crazy person could just walk up and take someone. That God that's not the case."
Melon said the other girl, Melina, was left waiting at the school.
The school district said in a statement Tuesday was the first day the driver came to the school, and that it is investigating.
"When the driver picked up another student, the school contacted the driver, who brought the student back," the statement said. "The matter is being looked into, and the safety of our students is always top priority."
A parent waiting to pick up his child Wednesday said the same school allowed his 6-year-old son to walk home by himself two years ago.
"They didn't know where he was," said Gregory Capellan. "When I got home to pick him up, that's when he rang the doorbell."
The district would not answer questions about the protocol for student pickup, only saying the incident is under investigation. Officials also would not say whether the staffer responsible for releasing Malia to the cab driver was disciplined.
Malia did not attend school Wednesday, and her parents are asking that she be moved to a new school.
Last week, a school in Paterson, New Jersey, accidentally sent the wrong pre-kindergartner home with a grandmother who had come to pick up her grandchild. Officials apologized for the mix-up, and said they're taking steps to enforce pick-up protocol.
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