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Driver and student care centre fail to notice girl was missing, leaving her locked in bus for almost 2 hours

SINGAPORE — A student care centre and school bus driver failed to notice a Primary 1 student was missing after she missed her stop, leaving her "locked" in a bus for nearly two hours.

The PlayFACTO School in Yishun.

The PlayFACTO School in Yishun.

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SINGAPORE — A student care centre and school bus driver failed to notice a Primary 1 student was missing after she missed her stop, leaving her "locked" in a bus for nearly two hours.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (March 7), the child's mother Iris Law said that her daughter was "left alone, locked and unattended in a school bus for two hours without any food" and was only found when she knocked on a window to alert a passer-by.

In her post, she detailed the incident on March 2. She said her daughter was picked up from school at about 1.45pm and taken to the student care centre, PlayFACTO School, in Orchid Country Club in Yishun.

"Under the recommendation of the student care (centre), we also engaged a school bus service to transport her from school to the student care (centre) from Monday to Friday," she said.

Mdm Law said the bus operator called the student care centre at 3.45pm after they found her on the bus. The student care centre verified the girl's identity.

At about 3.56pm, the bus operator called Mdm Law to let her know her daughter was left on the bus and that they were on their way back to the student care centre. They arrived at 4pm.

Mdm Law said that PlayFACTO School was not aware a child was missing and was only alerted to it by the bus operator.

She added that she only received a call from the bus operator because the school "tried to shunt the blame". There was a lack of detail from the bus operator and the incident was described "in pieces", she wrote in her Facebook post.

"We are led to believe that there is a serious lapse of safety protocol within the student care," she wrote.

"There is a clear lack of ownership, accountability and safety awareness from the student care representatives who counted the students onboarding the bus, handing over the students to the student care without proper accounting (of) the handover, and the (ignorance) ... of the teacher-in-charge of the class who is not aware of the missing child."

Mdm Law told CNA she has withdrawn her daughter from PlayFACTO School and that her daughter was okay after the incident.

In response to CNA's queries, PlayFACTO School said in a statement on Thursday night that the girl had fallen asleep on the school bus.

It added that the girl was not accounted for by the teacher or the bus driver who failed to check the bus upon returning to the depot.

"The student was quickly located and returned home unharmed and in good spirits. We have since implemented more stringent protocols for teachers and bus operators to prevent a recurrence," said the student care centre.

CNA has contacted the bus operator for comment.

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Related topics

childcare negligence

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