The parents of a kindergarten child who went missing from school at lunchtime say a simple piece of infrastructure could have prevented "every parent's worst nightmare".
The mother of a 5-year-old student at Aranda Primary School was shocked when her daughter rang the doorbell about 1.30pm on May 3.
The student had told her friend during lunchtime that she was feeling sad and wanted to go home. The friend drew her a map, which consisted of a few lines and a box, and the girl walked off the junior playground without anyone noticing.
She walked the two kilometres to her Cook home by herself, crossing busy roads including the four-lane carriageway of Bindubi Street.
"It makes my heart drop every time I think about it," the mother, who does not wish to be named, said.
The school rang the parents to say the girl was missing after lunch and that staff were searching the school grounds, but by then the child had made it home without injury.
The mother wrote to the school board and the ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry to ask for a review of security measures at the school, including installing a fence around the entire perimeter of the school.
Aranda Primary School currently has a waist-high metal fence along the Bandjalong Crescent boundary with large gaps mid-way and near the western corner of the school grounds. The remainder of the school boundary is lined with trees but no fencing.
"My kid could have been hit by a car," she said.
"She could have been kidnapped, she could have been assaulted, she could have died."
The mother said she was concerned that a duty of care to her daughter could have been breached if she had been harmed and that something needed to be done to mitigate the risks going forward.
"I couldn't live with myself if something like this happened to another child."
In response to questions posed to Ms Berry, an ACT government spokeswoman said: "This incident was extremely regrettable and I acknowledge the distress this family must have experienced.
"The Education Directorate routinely reviews safety and security incidents in schools. Discussions have been undertaken in the wake of this particular incident and communications are currently ongoing between the family, school, directorate and minister's office."
The spokeswoman said in order for a fence to be installed at an ACT public school, the principal must canvass the views of the school community including the parents and citizens association, the school board and nearby residents.
"The directorate expects high levels of support from a school community for a proposal to be approved. Installation of fences is funded by the Education Directorate," the spokeswoman said.
"It is not an ACT government requirement that schools be fenced in order for duty of care to be exercised."
Aranda Parents and Citizens Association president Joel Dalton said the committee had started to discuss the best way to consult with the community.
"It's important to give everyone a platform to have their say," Mr Dalton said.
Aranda Primary School surveyed parents, students and staff on the issue several years ago but a fence was never installed.
School fencing is often a divisive issue in public school communities, with those opposed arguing for the need for the community to access the playground outside of hours.
Curtin Primary School and Kaleen High School had a security fences installed in recent years despite some community opposition.
ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations spokeswoman Janelle Kennard said if a school community came to the decision that a fence was necessary, the directorate should make funding available.
While the mother has had discussions with school leaders, her letters and calls to the Education Minister have not been directly answered.
"I'd say [a fence is] a pretty fundamental piece of infrastructure," she said.
"Accessing school grounds on the weekend can be easily achieved."
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