Man Calls School Posing as Student's Father

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

WILLIAMSON COUNTY--   A family's sense of security was shattered Thursday when a stranger called Northside Primary in Herrin posing as a student's father.

It started out like any other day for Kelli Vorhes, until a relative called to ask if she'd changed her daughter's school routine.

“They said we've got her in the office. Josh called and said she was gonna get picked up early.  And she's sitting here waiting for somebody; nobody showed up,” Vorhes explained.

No one showed up, because Vorhes' husband, Josh, never called the school. Someone impersonated him, saying their six-year-old daughter wouldn't be going to after school care like usual. Vorhes says the school believed the caller.

“[She] sat at school for 30 minutes, waiting for her dad to pick her up. And come to find out nobody contacted that school from our family,” she said.

Now she has more questions than answers.

“Who, who's out there doing it? And why would they just pick her, you know? She's the only one in that school with that last name,” wondered Vorhes.

The caller also knew personal information about her child.

“It worries me because somebody does know our schedule. So is somebody watching us, listening to us?” Vorhes said.

Principal Cassie Burgess says the school followed safety protocol. The caller was questioned for personal information about the child, and staff contacting another family member when something seemed off.

“I think we do what we can to err on the side of being safe and being cautious,” Burgess said.

But even she lacks details about the situation.

“I'm still gathering information about the situation, and I'm still trying to figure out specific detail in terms of who had made that call,” explained Burgess.

Vorhes now has a code word they'll give the school when calling in. She hopes this situation reminds the school and parents to keep their guard up.

“I think that the school system needs to ask more questions, verify more information,” Vorhes told News 3.

Northside Primary has a school resource officer onsite.  Administrators say calls like this one have come in before, for other families, so they know how to handle it.

Vorhes and the school are still trying to figure out the caller's identity.  Vorhes says authorities told her the call couldn't be traced  because the building has so many phone lines and incoming calls.

 

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