8yo left behind on excursion

SHE packed her violin, making sure it fitted snugly in its case after she finished her performance and waited for her classmates, teachers and bus to take her home.

But the eight-year-old Warwick Central State School pupil sat alone crying on a Toowoomba park bench for a bus which had already left without her.

“I was there by myself for about an hour,” the Year 4 pupil said yesterday.

Her mum Belinda Evans was “absolutely disgusted” when she learnt of the ordeal.

“You drop your kids off to school and you think they'll be safe,” Mrs Evans said.

“You don't think they'd be left behind - sobbing on a bench in Toowoomba - 40 minutes from home.”

The little girl was spotted by another Warwick Central mum who attended the Today's Youth in Music Education event on Thursday.

“She recognised the Central uniform my daughter was wearing, saw her crying and alone and knew the bus had already left,” Mrs Evans said.

The Good Samaritan called Central to inform the school a little girl had been left behind and, while grateful for the woman's help, the forgotten pupil's father Brian was ropable.

“The bus didn't come back (for her); a stranger drove my daughter home,” Mr Evans said.

“I keep thinking 'what if?' What if that lady didn't find her?” Mrs Evans added.

“When I got her back, I didn't want to let her go; let go of my baby.

“Anyone could have got her, that's what scares me the most.”

The Evans' said the worst part about their daughter's ordeal was that the school was not transparent in their actions or in dealing with the situation.

“They (Warwick Central SS) did not contact us (after the incident),” Mr Evans said.

“There were 18 kids on the trip. They should've done a roll call or head count; don't they have procedures?”

Angry, the couple went to principal Trish Maskell for answers when their daughter was safely returned about 4pm.

Unhappy with the response, Mr Evans contacted Education Queensland.

According to the Evans', it will be a while before their daughter goes on another school excursion.

“She has been transferred to another Warwick school next term and the first thing I asked them was if they've ever left a child behind,” Mr Evans said.

A Department of Education Queensland spokesperson yesterday confirmed they were investigating the incident at Central.

“(The department) is treating the matter extremely seriously and considers it unacceptable that a student could be left behind,” the spokesperson said.

“A large number of schools from across the region also took part (in the event); the department has offered its support and apologised to the student and her parents.

“The Acting Executive Director Schools has been in contact with the family again (yesterday) to provide further support and an explanation of what happened.

“(Warwick Central State School) is reviewing its processes around excursions and student rolls.”

Anyone could have got my baby... that's what scares me the most


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