Kaiapoi six-year-old found wandering streets during school time

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 01, 2023 |

Kaiapoi. Source: Waimakariri District Council.

A six-year-old child from Kaiapoi was found wandering 3km from their school this week, during school time.

A source close to the child’s family told Chris Lynch Media that the boy left Kaiapoi Borough School, which has a school roll of around 380 students, around 1.40pm on Tuesday. He was spotted by a member of the public outside a restaurant near Kaiapoi Golf Course at about 2.45pm.

“The school didn’t even notice he was missing,” the source said.

“A kind lady stopped to check on him thinking it was an out-of-the-ordinary thing to see. She offered to take him back to school, which he said ‘no’ to, so the lady notified the school,” they said.

“Luckily this lady did that from a good place, but imagine if it was someone with other intentions. He could very easily have been in someone’s car and gone before the school even noticed,” the family friend said.

“He had already crossed all of the major roads in Kaiapoi to get that far. The safety concerns alone are scary, not to mention anything else.”

The source said that the boy left the school due to an ongoing bullying issue that has not been resolved for over six months, and “went into fight or flight mode”.

“When asked by his family what had happened, the boy said he was worried he was going to get hurt, so he was heading home to his mum. We interpret that as he didn’t feel safe and was trying to get home.”

Two members of school staff went to pick up the child.

The family’s immediate concerns were eased when they saw him, and that he was unharmed.

“But as with anything like this, the family’s minds have gone through the what ifs — and it’s terrifying to be honest,” the source said.

“At this stage, we feel we’ve had no support or solutions, and when the family left the school yesterday the gates were open. So not even the basics in site security the very next day,” the friend said.

“The school have been very cagey and are not giving too much away … going as far as to say they had a lot of relievers in on Tuesday so it’s likely a lot didn’t know which children were in which class — which rings major alarm bells for us,” they said.

In a joint statement to Chris Lynch Media from the school’s principal Hayden van Lent and Board of Trustees chair Christine Wilson-Greatbatch, said:

“We are deeply concerned that this has occurred and we are taking it very seriously. We are currently going through a formal investigation to further strengthen our procedures around attendance registers throughout the day. We have been, and continue to be, in communication with the family concerned.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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