Teacher censured for leaving child in car for four hours

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An early childhood teacher has been censured by the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal after she inadvertently left a child locked in a car for four hours.

In its decision, the tribunal said the teacher, Via Lam-Sam-Tai, was responsible for dropping a number of children home one afternoon in September 2016.

She thought she had dropped all of them off and headed home, not realising one child was still in the van.

Ms Lam-Sam-Tai parked the van in her driveway, locked it and left for a funeral.

The child's family reported her missing to the police. The police couldn't contact Ms Lam-Sam-Tai because her phone was turned off.

The child was found about 8pm that night, still strapped in her carseat, upset but unharmed.

Ms Lam-Sam-Tai fronted up to the family and apologised to them for her "horrible mistake".

The tribunal said the teacher's actions amounted to serious misconduct and the censure will remain on the teachers register for two years.

During that time, the tribunal said Ms Lam-Sam-Tai must inform any future employers of the decision.


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