Junior escapees

I was reading an article today (pointed out to me by Angie – thanks chick!) on the IcWales website which was first published in the South Wales Echo earlier this week. It was about two five year old boys who had managed to get out of school during the lunch hour and run around the neighbourhood on their own until a relation found them and took them back to school. They were then suspended for ten days. Of course, the implication in the story is that the teachers were at fault (“Boys give teachers brush-off in daring escape” being the title of the piece) even though the escape happened during a lunch break when teachers were not responsible for the children. And, predictably, people are very quick to criticise the punishment awarded, saying things like ‘I just think it’s a bit wrong to exclude him for 10 days. He’s only five, and he doesn’t see it as punishment.’ Surely it is the parent’s place to show their children that it is a punishment – by not treating the suspension period as an extra holiday, and by explaining to them exactly what they did wrong and some of the things that could have happened to them during their “daring escape”.

I have a five year old boy myself, and can accept that when teaching your children right from wrong you might not think to tell them that they aren’t allowed to abscond from school as and when they feel like it, but surely you aim to teach them respect, and to respect the people that you leave them with. There is no way that you could tell me that these boys didn’t know it was wrong to leave the school like that.

On the other side of this, receiving a call from the school telling you that your child is no longer in school has to be one of the nightmare situations you only imagine. So many scenarios would rush through your mind, so it is only natural that you would question the level of supervision over your child. It isn’t stated in the article whether the police were called, although you would hope that this would be the first call a school would make upon discovering that there were pupils missing. After this, you would want to know how many “lunchtime supervisors” (they called them dinner ladies in my day!) were there, and how it was that these children had got through the school’s main entrance/exit unnoticed.

Finally, I was glad to spot a letter from a local resident which pointed out that sometimes, no matter the level of supervision or security in a school, if children are determined to get out they will.


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