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2- Mile Boy Wander; Four-year-old walks out of school to find mum after telling-off.

A BOY who sneaked out of his school's open playground gate wandered more than two miles before he was found.

Four-year-old Leslie May was looking for his mum after being ticked off by a teacher, his father Michael said yesterday.

The youngster headed for a shopping centre where he thought his mother would be - and a family friend spotted him at a nearby Netto supermarket and took him home.

Dad-of-six Mr May is now threatening to sue education chiefs for alleged negligence.

"I want to shock them into improving security," he said.

"After the Jamie Bulger tragedy in Liverpool and the massacre at Dunblane it should be top priority. There's no telling what would have happened if he hadn't been spotted by a friend of ours."

Mr May, a former security guard, said he had no complaints about the teaching at the school - Gloucester Road Primary, in Peckham, south London.

But Leslie and his five-year-old sister Candy had not been back since the incident on Monday because of his fears about safety.

The worried dad said: "When I rang the school to protest at Leslie being allowed to escape I was told, 'Oh, no, he's still in class.' I said: 'I think you'd better go and check.' That was the first time they found out that he was missing.

"They checked backed through their video camera film, and there he was on it, leaving the school. But no-one had been watching it."

Mr May said he had measured the distance between the school and the shop - and it was 2.2miles.

"Leslie thought he was going to get into trouble for doing what he did," he said. "But it's not his fault - it's the school's." Headmistress Ann Howell has since apologised to the boy's parents.

She said: "We will tighten our arrangements by locking the gate from the playground to the car parking area at all times.

"The school will also be looking into the issue of supervision during and after break-time."

SCHOOLBOY Gareth Hare, 13, missed winning a hi-fi for 100 per cent attendance because he was in hospital after having his appendix out on prize day at Coychurch, near Bridgend, Glamorgan.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 16, 1999
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