herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Anger as boys go missing at infant school

FOUR junior infant children left their Dublin school and crossed a busy road to travel alone to a neighbourhood playground.

Teachers were unaware the children had left St Brigid's junior national school in Brookfield, Tallaght, during playtime last Monday.

A mother of one of a group of junior infant boys who wandered out of their primary school unnoticed is considering taking him out of the school because of safety fears.

Hazel Noonan told the Herald that she is not satisfied that the school is safe enough. Her son Aaron (5) and three of his classmates left the school through an unlocked gate last Monday. The youngsters slipped past six teachers on yard duty at break time and walked down to the public playground.

They were gone for 20 minutes before they were spotted by a relative of one of the boys' mothers. "As parents we still haven't got answers" said Ms Noonan who says that she is still in shock from the scare.

"One minute we were told that the gate was left unlocked for the builders in the school then we were told that the builders had their own separate entrance".

She added: "I've gone as far as to ask another school whether they can take him."

Two of the boys who wandered out on Monday, Hazel's son Aaron and Brian Plummer (4) managed to escape from the schoolyard again on Wednesday afternoon. However this time they were spotted by teachers before leaving the school grounds. Brian's parents Selina Plummer and Derek Evans say that although the incidents gave them a "bad fright" they don't hold the school responsible.

Mr Evans said: "I know the school should have kept the gate shut but I do feel sorry for the teachers in this. I have been in with the principal and I'm happy that it won't happen again."

Hazel Noonan reported the incident to the gardai, who have decided that no offence took place. She and son Aaron are set to tell their story on TV3.

She has also approached the Board of Education about the incident who have told her to submit her complaint in writing to the school's board of management.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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