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Misplaced student addressed by Schenectady City Schools superintendent

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Updated: 3/14 6:31 pm

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A five-year-old spent the entire day at the wrong school, and the superintendent of the Schenectady City School District admits there were a number of things the district should have done differently that could have prevented the incident.

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 things.”

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 followed.

“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 happening again.

“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. 

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