Care blunder leaves boy, 5, stranded

Deaf boy left crying in playground after delay

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 05:00 09/07/2014
Abbey Morgan
SCOTT HAMMOND/ Fairfax NZ
TAINTED: Abbey Morgan says her faith in the Oscar programme has been tested after her son Liam, 5, was left crying in his school playground after a 40 minute delay in being picked up by his after-school provider.

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A 5-year-old deaf boy was found alone and crying in his school playground after his after-school care provider was delayed collecting him.

Whitney Street School pupil Liam Morgan attends the Oscar after-school programme at Blenheim School each day.

On Friday Liam had to wait 40 minutes after the Oscar bus driver failed to pick him up on time.

Christian charity Bread of Life, which runs the programme, is investigating the incident.

Manager Brian Gull made a personal apology to Liam's mother Abbey Morgan yesterday.

Morgan said a teacher had discovered her son crying in the school playground.

Liam is deaf and wears a hearing aid in each ear.

He and other Whitney Street School pupils are usually picked up at 3pm each school day to attend the Oscar programme.

His mother received a call from the school at 3.30pm to say Liam had not been picked up and was upset.

"He had been standing alone in the playground for 30 minutes and he was crying," Morgan said.

The mother-of-three said it was 3.40pm before her son was collected.

"I am very angry, there should always be a plan B. If Oscar was going to be held up the driver should have phoned Whitney [Street] School. I expect my child to be looked after and be safe - that's the point of Oscar.

"Oscar is a good after-school programme and up to this point I have been really happy with the service. The incident is a shame, it has tainted how I feel about them."

Gull said a breakdown in communication meant the school was not informed of the delay in picking up Liam.

The parents of another child who was due to be picked up first had collected them without the knowledge of the Oscar supervisor. Time was spent looking for that child.

When the driver arrived at Whitney Street School Liam was waiting in the office, Gull said.

"This highlights how necessary it is for the parents to let the supervisor know of any changes as it can cause problems down the line.

"Drivers have a list of children to pick up and they have to check where those children are before moving to the next site."

The driver had a phone on the bus to be updated on any changes, he said.

"We are very sorry that this happened to Liam and also caused distress to his mother.

"Oscar does have a rigid policy and procedure in place," he said.

"I will re-look at how Oscar can avoid such an incident in the future."

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