A tough week for the Monticello preschool program Project Excel as one child was allowed to leave with a stranger and a mother given a child that wasn't hers. Our Eva McKend spoke with the head of the organization that runs the program who says parents can and should still trust the school with their children.
MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- It was a trying week for parents at a Monticello preschool.
"Somebody literally gave our child away," said Erin Lacenere when interviewed Wednesday.
A child accidentally taken by a stranger and two days later, a mother handed the wrong child.
"I knew enough to say, this isn't my daughter and her response [the receptionist] was just, oh really, it's not," said Holli Schoonmaker when interviewed Thursday.
Now, Senior Vice President of Program Services for Easter Seals New York, the organization that runs the preschool, has a message for those parents.
"We have a number of safety and security procedures and have had them for many years in place and those procedures include things like automatically locking doors, computerized cameras and an approved pick up list," said Renart.
Renart says on Tuesday, before four-year-old Cailinn Lacenere walked away with the wrong man, his photo ID was photocopied and his name was on a pre-approved list. The error resulting from the wrong Cailinn being turned over.
"Since then, we've added additional safety and security measures, including a desk in our very front hallway and temporarily, while we are working on our security measures, we've asked parents and no one to pass that barrier," said Renart.
In response to the second incident with Ryleigh Schoonmaker, Renart says they are now having children wear special name tags upon release, but he says even with this measure, security breaches at even the most secure schools can and will happen.
"Did I think something like this could happen given our security measures? No. Do I think there are ways to improve? Yes," Renart said.
Project Excel has served children, ages three through five, in Monticello for more than a decade, specializing in kids with special needs.
The receptionist parents say are responsible for the errors has been suspended while investigations into both incidents continue.