Two children were playing in a park adjacent to their school after class hours and a third boarded a wrong bus.
On a day when physical classes resumed at Salt Lake Shiksha Niketan, on the fringes of Salt Lake, after over two years of online classes, panic spread as parents heard that three children were ‘missing’.
Over 100 parents went to the campus and started protesting. In a few minutes, it emerged that the school had overlooked the children’s exit routine.
A mother who went to pick up her daughter from school after class could not find the child. She searched at the school gates and alerted the security guards.
She alerted police posted outside the school and then went inside and told the teachers.
Cops and the school authorities started a search for the child and it soon emerged that two boys, too, were ‘missing’, an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said.
The police and school authorities told the drivers of pool cars and school buses not to leave the school premises, the officer said.
“We found the girl sitting in one of the buses along with her friends but by this time word had spread in the parents’ WhatsApp groups that a child had gone missing. Soon, hundreds of anxious parents had gathered in front of the school gate,” said the officer.
The two boys were spotted playing on a field adjacent to the school a little later, another office said.
“All the children said they were excited to see their friends. So, they did not realise that they were late,” said the officer.
Several parents alleged that frantic calls to the school’s landlines and pool car drivers had gone unanswered the whole time. Irate parents and guardians then staged a protest in front of the school.
Nupur Dutta, the principal of the school, said that since the school had opened only on Friday, they did not have a proper database of the school bus and pool car drivers and that led to the confusion.
“Somehow, there was a miscommunication with the parents that led to the chaos. We will hold a meeting tomorrow with the transport operators to iron out these issues,” Dutta said.
“We tried to call the school authorities multiple times but nobody picked up,” said the parent of one of the children who could not be located.