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Southampton mum calls for stronger safeguards after eight-year-old son escapes and walks a mile home on his own
AN eight-year-old boy managed to escape from school – and walk nearly a mile home on his own.
Zack Harrison’s mum, Kelly, fears her son could have been killed crossing a busy road after he climbed over a locked school gate.
Now she is calling on education chiefs to put more safeguards in place and claims it is not the first time it has happened.
But school bosses say they are “confident” staff acted responsibly in the build-up to the incident and said his support assistants were watching him closely as he made his way home.
Zack, who suffers with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), escaped from Mansel Park Primary School in Millbrook, Southamp-ton, despite two learning support assistants supervising him.
His mum told the Daily Echo he was able to cross a busy main road on his own and walk to the family home in Buttermere Close.
Kelly, who was having her hair cut at the time, said she had a phone call from the school’s office to inform her that her son had gone missing.
Panicked Kelly spent ten minutes driving around the estate before finding him on top of a garage in the close – with the two school staff nearby.
Kelly, 38, said: “It’s not the first time this has happened.
“I had a phone call from the school office and they asked if I was around as ‘he’s escaped’.
“He’s only part-time because of his ADHD and autism, but they are not coping well with him.” She added: “He said ‘mummy, I just wanted to come and see you’. I am very upset – he could have been killed.
“Where he is running around the school and getting himself in danger, it’s a constant wait for a call from the school.”
Kelly and Zach’s dad Ian are hoping a review of their son’s situation could help him get a place at a special school in the city that would be more appropriate to his needs.
A spokesman for Mansel Park Primary School said Zach’s two support assistants tried to talk him down from the school gates.
He said: “Zack left the school building and climbed a school gate to exit the school grounds.
“At all times his support assistants were present and tried repeatedly to talk him down and calm the situation.
“After Zack escaped the grounds our staff were in constant contact with the school and kept watch over him as he made his way home. We also gained contact with the parents to let them know what was happening.
“We are confident that staff acted responsibly and in the best interest of Zack and went above and beyond to ensure he remained as safe as possible.
“Zack’s placement at our school is currently awaiting review by the Special Educational Needs Panel and we will do everything we can to support Zack while this process takes place.”
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