Parents call for change after man picks up wrong child from school

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BROWNSVILLE -

Parents are calling for change after finding out that a 6-year-old girl was picked up by a stranger following an after-school program last week at P.S. 189 in Brownsville.

Authorities have called the incident a case of mistaken identity and say the man had no ill intent.

Still, parents question how the incident happened in the first place. Some parents who spoke with News 12 suggested that dismissal should occur inside the school building and that the kids should be watched more closely. They say children are just let out of school and onto the sidewalk, leaving them vulnerable.

The school's PTA president says it's important to learn from the incident.

"This situation that took place is unfortunate, but at the same time, it does open our eyes to concerns that parents already have, you know, brought to light," says Darryl Harrison. "I think it's an opportunity for us now to really exercise what our concerns are."

Police initially said the girl and stranger walked six blocks before the girl's 10-year-old brother caught up to them. But the children's mother told News 12 that the man took her daughter through the park across from the school and that her son was following them the whole time, trying his best to get his sister away from the man. But the mother says he had such a tight grip on the girl that it was impossible to get away until they reached the man's house.

The mother also says the kids weren't supposed to go to the after-school program in the first place, and that they should have got on the bus instead.

The after-school program is run by the Brooklyn Children's Museum. News 12 is told that staff met with the school's principal and the Department of Education to ensure clear communication and reinforce safe dismissal procedures.

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