EXCLUSIVE: Student with Autism Picked Up from School without Parental Approval, Mother Says
It's a nightmare voicemail for a parent: your child has been picked up from school early but it was not planned by you.
One mother in Milwaukee says this is exactly the call she got just one week ago - and she says there's still no good answer to why it happened.
11:17 a.m. last Tuesday the voicemail came through to Nanach Herrion's phone. The message was from staff at Oliver Wendell Homes School.
"I was calling regarding Lee'Juan. His van driver picked him up today so I was just trying to get the okay on that because yesterday you had your sister pick him up and today you didn't call," the message starts.
"So I'm thinking that It's okay for him to go with the van driver. So if you could please give me a call back and confirm it I'd appreciate it. Thank you," the message concludes.
"My heart dropped. I panicked," Herrion said.
"Cause I'm like 'a van driver?' He doesn't have a van driver so I'm calling the school. I've been placed on hold numerous times before I spoke to someone. And right as soon as she picked up the phone my son walked through the door and I was on my way to the school," Herrion said.
Her son is 10-year-old Lee'Juan Mays - a fourth grade student diagnosed with autism.
His mother says he was driven to Aurora Healthcare Day Treatment where staff turned him away because he is not a patient.
Herrion says Lee'Juan has been in a day treatment before but that was two years ago and he now attends all day classes at the elementary school.
But in a statement from Milwaukee Public Schools, they say their investigation shows this family had a contract with the organization that included transportation for this student.
That contract was in effect at the time...which is why the organization had information about the school the student currently attends, the statement said.
But Herrion says that does not answer her questions because she never gave approval for pick-up and she says the voicemail from the school proves it.
"So you can walk in from the street with my son's name on the paper - a document you just created - and say I'm here for Lee'Juan and they will release him to you? That's the issue," Herrion said.
Herrion is asking for an apology and assurance that school policies will be changed so this does not happen again. It is still unclear how her son's name got on the pick-up list in the first place.