A Harter Middle School parent ordered an Uber ride for a pupil being sent home last month after the child had a potential COVID-19 exposure, Kaneland District 302 Superintendent Todd Leden said.
It was unclear whether the parent was related to the student being sent home or what prompted the parent to call for the Uber.
The school district did not identify the parent who called the Uber or elaborate on details surrounding the incident, citing privacy concerns. Leden said in an email, however, that the Uber driver was not allowed to enter the school and that the pupil was not allowed into the vehicle.
“There were several students in the main office/nurses office area at the time that this event took place. I can confirm that an Uber was called and it was called by the parent of a Harter Middle School student,” Leden said in an email. “Due to student privacy matters I cannot elaborate any further.”
During the Jan. 31 school board meeting, a woman first surfaced the allegation publicly, blasting the Kaneland Board of Education and school administrators during the public comment period. At the time, she claimed that someone tried sending her granddaughter home in an Uber ridesharing vehicle due to a potential COVID-19 exposure. The woman said ultimately the girl’s mother picked her up from the school.
An Uber driver did come to Harter Middle School on Friday, Jan. 21, according to an email Harter Middle School Principal Nathan Schmitt sent to Leden on Jan. 24, which the Kane County Chronicle received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
The driver gave the wrong name of the student they were picking up, Schmitt said in the email to Leden. Schmitt did not believe the school could send a student home in an Uber ride, he said in the email. While he was double-checking, the school’s receptionist had called and emailed the girl’s parent about the Uber showing up for her, Schmitt wrote in the email.
“I went to the nurse’s office to check on this, and I was told by the student, [name is redacted], that [redacted] would not send an Uber. Another student in the nurse’s office overheard me and stated that it was [redacted] that sent the Uber. I explained that I didn’t think we could send anyone on an Uber, but thank you for helping clear this up. The Uber driver was never allowed into the nurse’s office, nor did he have contact with either of the students.”
Leden said in a follow-up email to the Kane County Chronicle that he couldn’t provide details about conversations with families, but that “the district administration has communicated with families that were involved in this matter.”