Orange County school under fire for releasing boy to mom without custody

Howard Darden found safe in North Carolina after mother took him from school

APOPKA, Fla. - Orange County School Board officials are investigating the employee who released 11-year-old Howard Darden to his mother, Angela Darden.

Darden was out of jail on GPS monitoring and according to Seminole County Court Records, did not have custody of her son when she pulled him out of Piedmont Lakes Middle School, cut off her tracking bracelet, and left town on Tuesday.

[PICS: Mother, spraypainted car found in North Carolina]

School Board officials declined request for interviews, but tell Local 6 parents must present their license when checking a child out of school.

That license is then scanned into a computer system and custody information would pop up, which is collected every year when parents register their children for school.

According to officials, if custody has changed, it's up to parents to provide the school with that information.

Court documents show that Darden lost custody of her children two weeks ago. Darden also plagiarized her husband's handwriting and wrote a letter asking Orange County to dismiss the injunction that gave her husband full custody of the children.

It's not clear if Darden showed that paperwork to the school employee who released Howard to his mother.

"It is the parents responsibility to provide that information and its the schools responsibility after that to follow through and make sure that's enforced," said Nikki McGuire, a parent.

According to deputies, after pulling Howard out of class, Darden tried to get her other son from Lakeville Elementary, but school officials there did not let it happen.

"You have crazy people out there whether its the biological parent or not, things happen," said McGuire.

Meanwhile, the employee who was working in the middle school office has been relocated to another position in the district.

A family in North Carolina spotted Darden and Howard and contacted authorities.

On Friday, deputies released pictures of Darden from North Carolina, along with her spray-painted yellow Volkswagon beetle and her cut GPS monitor.

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