My First Skool, a leading preschool, apologised today after a Kindergarten 2 male student with autism went missing during school hours in Serangoon North yesterday (Oct 24).
The boy was later found more than 12km away at Yishun MRT station.
Ms Justina Ong, the mother of the seven-year-old boy, said that she received a call from the pre-school at 10.48am, informing that her son had disappeared after a gardening session:
“When I received the call, I went crazy. I thought I would never get to see my son any more.”
Ms Ong said the school told her that a teacher had taken seven children outdoors at 10.15am. When they returned to class 15 minutes later, the teacher realised that Ms Ong’s son was missing.
Fortunately, five minutes after the school had contacted her, Ms Ong received a call from an employee at Yishun MRT station, saying that her son was there.
She said that, due to her son’s autism, he was unable to detail how he ended up at Yishun station. However, he told Ms Ong that he took a bus from the pre-school to Ang Mo Kio station, where he took a train to Yishun.
Ms Ong said:
“His child bus card is with me. I also do not how he managed to take the bus and MRT
“But according to the Yishun MRT staff, he was approached by an auntie in the MRT. My son told her that he wanted to go to Yishun and the auntie guided him to the MRT staff. The staff then got our phone number from my son.”
She added that Ang Mo Kio MRT station staff also confirmed that he boarded the train there.
Mrs Adeline Tan, general manager of My First Skool, made a public apology today:
“We apologise unreservedly for this incident which has caused great stress and worry to the family of a child under our care
“The boy has been with us since he was a toddler and our teachers have always conscientiously looked out for him.”
She added that the teachers at the centre “did their best to search for the child” in the vicinity of the school, before the teacher in charge of the gardening activity contacted Ms Ong. Mrs Tan added:
“The teacher-in-charge is deeply apologetic and badly shaken by this incident. She is being counselled and understands that appropriate disciplinary action will have to be taken. We are doing our utmost to engage with the parent on this incident.”
Ms Ong has lodged a complaint with the Early Childhood and Development Agency, and the case is under investigation. The boy’s mother added that she will be withdrawing her son from My First Skool.