A school holiday care centre near Adelaide is being investigated after two boys went missing for hours without staff noticing.
It was only when the mum of one of the boys, Brooke, came to pick up her five-year-old son at Hahndorf Primary School out of school hours care (OSHC) on January 16 that she found out he was missing.
“I instantly thought, ‘my kid’s been abducted',” Brooke told 7News. "My kid could have been sexually assaulted."
“Then the policeman came, looks at me and says ‘sorry’ and then looks back at her and goes, ‘we’ll be lucky to find these boys alive’.”
According to Brooke, her son and his best friend were found six hours after last being seen, having wandered out of the centre's unlocked gate onto the street in the morning.
They first tried walking to their homes a few streets away in 35 degree heat, to discover the front doors were locked. So they made their way to one of their grandmother's houses, where they were found in the yard by SA police hours later.
“They were dehydrated, they didn’t really understand the scariness or the shock of the situation,” Brooke said.
Hahndorf Primary School OSHC sent a letter to parents notifying them of the situation and confirming the lock on the gate has since been replaced. The matter is also being investigated by South Australia’s Department of Education, who will decide whether the staff present on the day should be reprimanded.
Social media users react to children going missing at care centre
Many were left baffled at how the centre hadn't noticed the children were missing for several hours.
"I'm so glad these clever boys are okay. A parent's worst nightmare," one person commented on TikTok.
"As an educator myself, there should be no question of it...Yes the staff should be disciplined," another said.
"Head counts should be completed. Supervision policies and procedures are introduced for a reason. I know mistakes can happen but this should not be swept under the rug."
Other commended the children for knowing what to do in that situation.
"Thank God the boys knew where to go. Excellent parenting right there," someone said.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Hahndorf Primary School OSHC for comment.
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