School sends 10yr old DS home to empty house.

(127 Posts)
khaleesi71 Fri 25-Nov-16 10:27:17

I work 50 miles from home and DH is SAHD. Yesterday DS was to go to an after school club until 4. However he 'hurt' his ankle and said he didn't want to do his activity. I say 'hurt' as our old cat was put to sleep this week with little notice and he's been sad and clingy (understandably). The school know this. As DS was not due back until 4 he was out on some errands. Unfortunately the area has a dreadful signal and there are some complete black spots so he did not see the 4 missed calls from the school. When he emerged from the black spot he picked up a message to say 'Finlay didn't want to do his club, he's hurt his ankle and we've sent him home'. To an empty house. DS was scared and upset but had the sense to take himself to a friends house and they wrote a note to put through our letter box so DH knew where he was when he got home. DH had come home as they were doing this. We have complained to the school and asked for their policy on this but I'm so cross that they put DS in this vulnerable position. Is this normal practice? I can't understand why they didn't keep him in his (paid for) after school activity whilst they contacted DH - who would have picked him up at 4 anyway.

sparechange Fri 25-Nov-16 10:29:31

How did he get from school to home?

Sirzy Fri 25-Nov-16 10:31:29

Does he normally walk home from school alone?

khaleesi71 Fri 25-Nov-16 10:31:45

He walked - on his own, in the dark and down a steep hill. With a hurt ankle. We don't live far from the school at all but he was upset and had to cross a busy road on his own. sad

VintagePerfumista Fri 25-Nov-16 10:32:17

If he normally goes home alone then the school has done nothing wrong.

khaleesi71 Fri 25-Nov-16 10:32:30

He normally walks with friends, he's not allowed on his own.

Bogburglar75 Fri 25-Nov-16 10:37:13

Assuming he's Year 6? A lot of them do walk to and fro on their own this year, but for clubs I think the parent has to sign to say they will be taking themselves home which seems a reasonable compromise.

If they didn't know that he was OK to take himself home (did they know if he had a key?) it would have been much better to have him wait at the activity at least until they could contact your DH.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Fri 25-Nov-16 10:39:22

Does the school know that your son usually walks with friends?

Did he tell them he isn't allowed to walk home alone?

It is a bit confused of them to send him off to walk home alone on an injured foot.

crashdoll Fri 25-Nov-16 10:41:29

No I don't think YABU at all. They sent him home without a quick phone call and an injured foot.

khaleesi71 Fri 25-Nov-16 10:42:46

He doesn't have a key. The arrangement is that he can walk home with friends after school. For the after school club (run and managed by the school) DH has to pick him up and notify of any changes to this arrangement. As this happened after school had finished his friends had already gone home.

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 25-Nov-16 10:46:34

I feel like they should have just had him sit out of the activity and read a book quietly or something. Not just send him home.

itsmine Fri 25-Nov-16 10:47:48

Well that's not on at all, c!early they should have spoken to a parents before sending him off. As you've already complained then the only thing that I'd accept is an apology and assurances they've changed their procedures.

Your 10yr old ds needs telling though that he is old enough to speak up and should have said he isnt allowed to walk home alone.

SaucyJack Fri 25-Nov-16 10:52:22

No, that's not on. It's not even like it's warm enough to just sit on the doorstep and wait for someone to come home.

Why didn't they just sit him in the library with a book?

JessieMcJessie Fri 25-Nov-16 10:52:56

His name's in the OP, you might want to get that edited.

zippey Fri 25-Nov-16 10:55:49

I think they could have sent him home if they had spoken to someone. But leaving a voicemail and hoping for the best is a bit risky.

It will be good for the school to review this and get a better policy before it happens again and something serious happens next time.

SenoritaViva Fri 25-Nov-16 10:56:36

I work in a school. We absolutely categorically would never do that. Totally unacceptable. We would have kept him on the premises until we had got hold of you.

HearTheThunderRoar Fri 25-Nov-16 11:00:02

Yanbu, they should have checked with the parent. It's really not that difficult in this day and age.

This happened to DD once, when she was about 9. They sent all kids home after a power cut at school, Dh did a drop and run and by the time they told dd school was shut, Dh had already left. (This was years ago prior to etexts etc)

But because Dh worked nights, both dd and school assumed he was home and let Dd walk home on her own, however he was 20 miles away playing golf and I was at work in the city none the wiser.

Dd was scared as she had no idea where Dh was but thankfully she went to a friend's house.

SavoyCabbage Fri 25-Nov-16 11:05:04

I don't think they should have let him go as they knew they couldn't contact your DH. At our school, they can walk home from school without an adult but not from clubs which finish at 4.30. They have to be collected.

Your ds should have stayed at school. He knew he wasn't to walk home by himself.

AnnPerkins Fri 25-Nov-16 11:07:18

I would say no it's not on. If DS is booked into a school-run after school club it is clear that these are the arrangements you have made for his after school care. It is also clear that if your DH couldn't be reached by phone, there was no adult aware of the change to DS's care except the school staff.

viques Fri 25-Nov-16 11:09:04

Too late for you now but I am surprised that you have never had a talk about to him about what to do in emergencies. Ie you come home and no one is there, and set up strategies for where to go if he needs help. Luckily he was sensible enough to work this out for himself when the need arose.

And btw, I think you should teach your 10 year old how to cross roads, busy or not, easy enough to teach them to find crossings.

PersianCatLady Fri 25-Nov-16 11:12:22

His name's in the OP, you might want to get that edited
I reported the OP so that MN can edit out the name because I am not sure if the OP is online right now.

NoSunNoMoon Fri 25-Nov-16 11:18:10

Why isn't he allowed to walk on his own? Most DCs of that age are and I imagine the school thought this was the case.

Not the school's fault your DH didn't pick up his messages.

lightupowl Fri 25-Nov-16 11:18:32

YANBU to be irritated that they sent a child home who they believed to be injured.

Don't get me wrong, this kind of thing is scary. But (maybe in the minority here!) I think YAB at tiny bit U at being very upset about DS being sent home to an empty house at age 10 as a one off. Unless you live somewhere exceptionally dangerous.

Honestly, I'd use this as an opportunity to build his confidence. Maybe give him a key, tell him how well he handled this situation. He did exactly the right thing and sounds like a sensible kid. It would worry me that he was upset and scared.

At the very least he's learned that he must stick to prearranged plans unless otherwise agreed with you. And that he must speak up if adults tell him to do something he knows you would not allow.

CouldIHaveIt Fri 25-Nov-16 11:18:53

easy enough for them to find crossings Really? Presumably you live in a city then?

I think these days the school shouldn't have done that. They should have let him sit in the activity reading or something - or let him help ref or whatever.

However, I really think the way we live now is doing this generation of children a disservice. We aren't teaching them any resilience at all and I think it's contributing to the stress & MH issues in those heading off to uni etc. I don't know how we change as a society, but I really think we need to.

allegretto Fri 25-Nov-16 11:20:00

YANBU - they shouldn't have sent him home to an empty house with no way of getting in.

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