CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte mother is upset after a school employee took her children's coats and sent them home on a cold day.
Chanda Spates says that her children came home from Ranson IB Middle School Tuesday and told her a teacher had taken their winter coats because they did not match the school uniform.
The single mother of five says the teacher not only took the coats from three of her children, but from at least 20 others at the Project L.I.F.T. school.
"When the children came home from school... they came home with no coats on. So I said 'where are your jackets? Where are your coats?'" Spates said. "They said 'the school took them. They took all the students' jackets during lunch at the cafeteria.' And that they were told if they wanted their jackets back to have their parents come up there."
She says the reason the children were given was that their coats were not the right uniform color, hunter green. She added that last year the school sold coats that matched the uniform, but that this year the coats were not available in the right color.
Spates said she then called the school, but the school was already closed.
"I'm upset that you would send children home in that degree weather without a jacket. Unacceptable. Period," she said. "Because that shows you're not looking for the welfare of the children. You're not having any regard for the children."
She says she's most upset that she couldn't get a response from the school until she called the media.
"I did go through the proper channels. I did call the principal. I did talk to the superintendent's office," she told WBTV. "And no one was willing to talk to me."
Wednesday night, the school released a statement about the incident.
"Outer coats are a part of the uniform at Ranson IB Middle School. Until today the policy has not come into question," officials said. "Coats that did not meet the color requirement for the uniform dress code were taken by an employee yesterday. The employee's intent was to return the coats to students before they went home. This action did not take place."
"Denise Watts, Project L.I.F.T. community learning zone superintendent, and Alison Harris , principal at Ranson, both sincerely apologize for this unfortunate situation and the inconvenience this has caused parents," the school's statement continued. "They also apologize for the students who went home yesterday without coats. Staff worked diligently today to return coats to students. Corrective action has been taken with the employee who did not return coats back to students."
Spates said more needs to be done.
"I think that that teacher does not need to be teaching students," she said, "Because anyone that would treat a child like that has no business being in charge of students."