CCSD: Great-grandmother charged in taking child was on approved list at school

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - By the time officials at a Charleston County school were notified that a woman was no longer allowed to pick up her great-granddaughter from school, the woman had already taken the child.

According to an affidavit, Emma Young picked up her great-grandchild from St. James-Santee Elementary in McClellanville Monday to keep the child's father from getting her as prescribed by a family court order.

Charleston County School District spokesman Andy Pruitt said Young had been on the authorized list of adults who were allowed to pick up the child. School officials did not learn a change to the list was necessary until the father brought the new court paperwork to school officials, but by then, Young had already left the school with the child.

"After the great-grandmother left with the child, the child's father contacted the staff at St. James-Santee School, notifying them he had a court order which documented he was now in sole custody of the child," Pruitt said. "Once school administration was notified of the change in legal status, attempts were made to contact the great-grandmother."

The father went to the school with a deputy escort and a court order granting him custody of the child, but she wasn't there, the affidavit states. A deputy went to the woman's home — where the child also lived — but no one was there either.

When called by a deputy, Young said she took the child to keep the father from taking her to Texas and refused to turn her over, the affidavit states. Deputies say Young refused to turn the girl over for two hours until family members were able to convince her to bring the child to the Georgetown Police Department.

Pruitt said the child is now with her father and is no longer a student at the school.

"Charleston County School District schools maintain a list of authorized parents and guardians who are approved to take a student home from school," Pruitt said. "The information is entered into PowerSchool, and school staff members are expected to check that list each time a child is released from school into the care of another adult. Administrators from St. James-Santee School followed this procedure in this situation."

A judge set bond for Young at $10,000 on Tuesday morning.

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