‘We may have never seen our son again’

Mike Rock at home with his son Max. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 3999-30-13TI To order your copy of th

Mike Rock at home with his son Max. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 3999-30-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Father’s fury after autistic boy, 8, wanders out of school

A ‘FURIOUS’ father fears sending his autistic son back to Sidmouth Primary School next term after the eight-year-old was found wandering alone near a busy road when he should have been in a classsroom.

Mike Rock thought youngster Max was safe when he dropped him off at the Woolbrook Road site – but was horrified to be told he had walked out of the building and been seen near traffic.

Dad-of-seven Mike, of Lymebourne Park, claims staff did not even know the boy was gone.

Max, whose special needs see him receive one-to-one care for the entire time he is at school, was spotted by an off-duty dinner lady.

“Had it not been for her, we may never have seen our son again,” said Mike, 47.

“It is not right. For a parent, your children should be safe when they go to school – it is the minimum you expect.”

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Mike, who is a full-time carer for three of his children and does charity work in his spare time, is fuming nobody said sorry to him and his wife Gemma.

He said the incident, which happened at around 9am last Thursday, had been ‘quite traumatising’ for Max.

“I left him in the classroom with teachers,” said Mike.

“He’d sneaked out, gone through the school and escaped. They didn’t even know he was gone. Luckily the off-duty dinner lady, who knew our family, saw that something was wrong, grabbed him and took him to the school. We are grateful to her.

“God forbid if anything would have happened to him. Someone could have pulled up and asked him to get in their car – and he would have done because he doesn’t understand.

“I’m worried about next term.”

Mike felt the incident had been ‘swept under the carpet’ by the school and added: “I’m furious and so is my wife. We did not even get an apology.”

A spokesman for the school said: “This was an unfortunate incident which we have reviewed and a different arrangement for dropping Max off at school has been agreed with Mr Rock.”