RRISD allows child to leave school with stranger


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist PETER HULL


Posted on January 30, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 30 at 9:20 PM

AUSTIN -- When John and Krystal Lakin put their son, Kevin, on the school bus Tuesday morning, they thought it would be another ordinary day.

By 9 a.m., they found out Round Rock ISD had canceled classes due to the ice storm, so they went to C.D. Fulkes Middle School to pick up Kevin.

"They're calling my child and he's not there," said Krystal. "They tell me, 'Oh, he's gone. He left with two other girls.' They were responsible for his well-being and safety. And for them to tell me, 'I don't know where he is,' is unacceptable."

The Lakins say the school's principal couldn't tell them who had taken their 12-year-old off campus.

After several panicked minutes, another school employee said he knew the two girls Kevin had left with and volunteered to call their mother, who is not on the Lakins' emergency contact list. In fact, they didn't know the woman at all. She took Kevin to her workplace, instead of his home.

"I couldn't believe that the school district would let a minor child walk out of there, off their premises, and into the vehicle of a stranger," Krystal said. "And I did not get a phone call from the school asking permission for this lady to take my child."

Spokesperson Joy Lyn Occhiuzzi says the district is working to make sure something like this doesn't happen again, and Round Rock's superintendent sent the Lakins an email apologizing.

"We need to determine what happened in order to take the corrective action," Occhiuzzi said. "What occured by us allowing a student to go with a stranger was inexcusable, let me be very clear about that. We don't just want to go over there and say, you're going to do this and this without us identifying what happened, what led to this, what went wrong and how can we fix it."

The Lakins are among quite a few parents who told KVUE they never received a phone call from Round Rock ISD the day of the ice storm.

The district told KVUE they didn't have the Lakins' phone number. RRISD says all parents need to make sure their child's campus has their number in case of an emergency.