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Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
25-08-2005, 08:27 AM
Post: #1
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?

We will all have heard about the tragic murder of schoolboy Rory Blackhall. This has happened very close to my home, and I passed near the spot where he was found on Tuesday when I was going to visit my parents.

When I first heard he had gone missing and that it was not noted that he was missing until pick-up time, the first thing I thought was why didn't the school contact the parents? Those seven hours were vital, it may not have saved Rory but for me when you put your child into school you are handing over responsibility to them. Today you are asked to provide a whole heap of telephone numbers for contact purposes. My daughter's school has my home number, Mr B's work number, both our mobile numbers, my brother in law's work number, my parent's number and a friend's number. When Katie was off school ill recently, I phoned in the first day to report that she would not be at school. I kept her off a further day but forgot to phone the second day, I got a call from the school just to confirm that she was still off school. I know that it is not policy for schools to do this but under recent events involving Rory I do think that this should now be compulsary to phone parents by 10am if they haven't already called to say their child will be off school. It appears to be happening in secondary schools because of trauncy, why not primary schools?

I know in America there is that early warning system where when a child goes missing, their face, desription is flashed everywhere and that there are news reports almost straight away. It has been proven to be successful as those first hours when a child goes missing are vital. As I have said maybe by contacting Rory's parents early may not have saved him but there were always be that "what if" question hanging over everyone.

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25-08-2005, 10:11 AM
Post: #2
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
I think parents should be obliged to phone the school and report absentees before 10 am (not every day but if the illness is likely to be prolonged they could say "until further notice" and then phone as soon as the child is returning to school) and that the school should also be obliged to phone the parent or contact if they don't arrive.

I suppose it's all down to time and administrative costs. This case certainly highlights the need for closer communication between parents and schools.

It's very sad too, of course, and my heart goes out to the parents.
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25-08-2005, 12:15 PM
Post: #3
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
I agree that parents should phone the school if their child is absence that day but there are some parents who don't. This is then classed and unauthorised absence and is put on the childs record.

I also think the schools should have a Home/School policy where the school should contact the parents if their child is not in school without an explanation from the parents as to why before 9:30am each morning. If this policy was in force at the school where the little boy attended then perhaps the outcome may have been a much better one.

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25-08-2005, 12:37 PM
Post: #4
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
I think that it is a responsbillity that parents and the school should carry equally, especially for children in primary/infant school. The parents should phone in before 9am and if they don't then the school should phone the home of all the absent children that day (those of whom they haven't received a phone call from) by say 10am. Parents who don't phone in before 9am should be named and shamed or at least have a stiff letter sent to them ... perhaps detention!


The awful case of Rory surely highlights how essential this is and I think this should become immediate practice.

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25-08-2005, 12:42 PM
Post: #5
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
At my sons school if the school hasn't heard from the parent by 9.30am on the day of absence they have an automatic phone service that rings all numbers held for that children at 15 minute intervals until someone rings the school.

My friend who forgot to ring the school on her sons 2nd of absence had phone calls on her mobile, her husbands mobile, her work phone, her husbands work phone and home phone until she rung the school.
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25-08-2005, 12:59 PM
Post: #6
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
This is quite close to where I live too, Bella. Even though all stories like this are tragic it just seems to hit you that little bit harder when it happens so close to you.

Years ago I would have said that there was no need for teachers to phone your parent/guardian/emergency contact if you are absent without warning (cos of course that would put an end to my days of bunking off here and there!) but with things like this going on these days I think it's importnat that teachers and parents know where there child is ie. if your child is ill and won't be going to school then you should phone the school and tell them. If parents don't phone in, then I think the teachers should phone whomever they can get in touch with to see why the child is absent.
Now I'm not saying this is the teachers fault at all but a simple phone call like this to Rory's parents/grandparents/whoever might just have saved his life.

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25-08-2005, 01:08 PM
Post: #7
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
I do agree with everything that has been said here, and I always phone the school as soon as I am able if Jamie is off sick. But there have been times where I have been unable to do that such as when I have been sitting in a doctors office from 8.30am to 10.00am waiting for an emergency appt. But I always phone as soon as I get out.

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25-08-2005, 01:15 PM
Post: #8
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
I agree that the parent should phone as soon as they can to let the school know that their child is going to be absent.

Even though I phone the school to let them know my daughter will be off, I also have to follow it up with a letter.

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25-08-2005, 04:28 PM
Post: #9
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
Joy Wrote:the school should contact the parents if their child is not in school without an explanation from the parents as to why before 9:30am each morning.

This might be difficult to put into practice though.

For instance, say you are the school's admin, and you phone a parent but receive no answer. What do you do next?

If the whole point of the exercise is to immediately identify a problem such as the Rory Blackhall one, it won't work if the parents can't be contacted.

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25-08-2005, 09:11 PM
Post: #10
Absent from school - should schools be responsible?
survivorfan Wrote:This might be difficult to put into practice though.

For instance, say you are the school's admin, and you phone a parent but receive no answer. What do you do next?

Exactly - we always phone parents when their children are not at school - but sometimes families go away for a holiday/couple of days without letting us know and we get no answer when we try to contact them. What should we do then - contact the police?

I don't know what the answer is but phoning to check is not always it as this depends on parents always being at the number they have given the school.

(Having said that we have caught a couple of kids truanting by phoning their parents)

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