I'm so glad this story came to a happy ending.
I was watching TV with Peanut last night when a photo of Austin came up with the news he was missing. How easily a 5 year-old child was able to disappear from school during an approximately 300-foot walk scared the crap out of me. I hope the authorities do some serious investigating into the elementary school, after-care program, and the daycare he ended up at. One teacher escorting 40 kids is ridiculous during the first week of school. They should have had several sets of eyes on those kids. The after-care program sounds like they were the most on the ball - at least they quickly realized he was absent and reported to the school. The other daycare baffles me. Don't they have rosters of which kids should be on their vans? I realize that there were probably many new kids and the driver wasn't familiar with them all yet (only the second day of school) but that's negligent. Apparently he used another child's name once at the daycare center, but I can't believe it took them until 11 pm to realize who he was.
When I think back to elementary school, we were always escorted to other classrooms, lunch, recess, bathroom break, etc. We walked single file and the teachers got on our asses if we talked or broke the line. (Maybe public schools are more lax than parochial?) After school, we had a designated line for each bus and a teacher called out the buses as they pulled up and watched everyone get on. It seemed overkill to us kids, but it was a system that worked.