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School investigating after 4-year-old walks off with another adult

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The first day of school for many students across the Midlands, but for one family, dismissal was cause for concern Monday afternoon.   

A mother claims her kindergartner was allowed to walk off with another adult.

The school says it's a misunderstanding and officials are investigating, but the family says a "misunderstanding" is unacceptable.

Monday was Jasmine Braggs' first day of Kindergarten at Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy on North Main Street.

Jasmine says she loved playing with toys in her classroom, but when it was time to go home, her grandmother, Angela Williams, says she saw Jasmine walking away with another adult.

"I'm just blown away about it," said Angela. "It really hurts. It hurts."

We spoke with the school's principal Monday afternoon. She would not go on camera, but says the adult was picking up her own kindergartner and it's not clear how Jasmine left the building. The principal says it was a case of someone trying to be helpful but it was misunderstood.

"If this woman was trying to be helpful and she saw Jasmine with her and she's going to walk out of the school yard with her -- out of the fence, I don't see that being helpful," said Angela. "The moment she saw her with her she should have said this isn't my child."

Jasmine's mother, Ashley Braggs, says the principal called to apologize.

"They said from now on they'll have an officer walk her to her car, but what about the other children," said Braggs.

The principal says staff members monitor the parking lot during dismissal, but there are no security guards on duty.

"It was as if my child, even for a moment was placed in a situation where I could have never seen her again," said Braggs. "You don't expect for that to happen to your child."

The school recently released a letter to all families who have children at the establishment.

Dear Imagine Columbia Families,

To ensure the safety of every student on campus, we want to make you aware of extra security precautions we are implementing during dismissal time.  These precautions are necessary to increase student safety and to also streamline our pick up procedures. We realize these procedures may take a little extra time during the first few days of school and we appreciate your cooperation and patience as we work to keep your child safe. Beginning this afternoon, the following measures are being added to our dismissal procedures. 

  • All parents in the car rider line shall remain in their vehicle.
  • Car tags shall be clearly visible and displayed with their child's name in vehicle's front windshield.
  • All parents walking to pick up their child must report to the front lobby no earlier than 3:45 and provide photo identification.  
  • If no car tag is displayed, you must report to the front office and provide photo identification to match those authorized to pick up the student.

To ensure the safety of all our students, no student will be released to anyone without the appropriate identification. The safety of our students is our first priority and the school staff will strictly adhere to these procedures.

If you need additional information regarding these procedures, please do not hesitate to contact the school. Thank you, in advance, for your support and cooperation as we strengthen our efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of every child served at Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy.

Sincerely,

Suezan P. Turknett

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