An eight-year-old with special needs was left wandering on his own because his tuition centre had allegedly released him early.
The boy, Vetri, who has global developmental delay, had been attending B-Wise Development Centre at Block 255 Jurong East Street 24 for English and mathematics tuition classes twice a week for three months.
His lessons usually end at 4.30pm, but last Wednesday, he was supposed to stay back for an extra class, till 6pm, according to his mother.
The New Paper understands the boy was found at 6.40pm at the junction of Jurong Town Hall Road and Pandan Gardens, where he lives – about 3.5km from the tuition centre.
According to Vetri’s mother, Madam Leelavathi Haridas, who runs her own business, he had followed the route his parents used whenever they drove him to the centre.
Around 5.45pm, when the boy’s grandmother walked past the centre, she realised that the boy’s slippers were not outside.
Alarmed, she went in and asked where he was. They told her that he did not come for his extra lesson.
She called Madam Leelavathi, 38, who informed the police.
The police said they were alerted to a case of a missing person at 6.02pm.
Madam Leelavathi claimed the teacher released Vetri early.
She added: “The centre is aware of my son’s condition.”
Vetri was tired and his shirt was damp from walking in the rain when the police brought him to her, said Madam Leelavathi.
He also fell sick after the episode, she added.
When TNP contacted the centre last Friday and related Madam Leelavathi’s version of events, the centre did not dispute the incident.
“We will tighten up our own process to ensure such a thing won’t happen again.”
Madam Leelavathi said she will be taking her son out of the centre.
A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper.