In light of all of the recent child deaths caused by parents and other adults in New York City and all over the country, a mom speaks out!
Thinking out loud...
It is time to change the process...
If school is mandatory then a child’s absence must be documented, right?
A note from a parent, or doctor?
This is how I always thought it worked,
at least, it should.
So, if a child is out ill for a day–someone must call
two days–someone must call
three days–someone must call
four days–a doctor’s note
If a child is absent for more than a week,
and if there is no documentation of illness from a doctor that can be checked,
and if, parents are unavailable or unwilling to communicate with the school,
and if the school counselor suspects that the child might be in danger,
then why not treat that child as a MISSING PERSON?
That child is, in effect, MISSING from school.
That entitles the school to call the police,
and report the child–missing...
and let the police go to that home to investigate why the child is not in school.
Perhaps, the time has come for The Police Department to have a special division,
If it’s true that social workers go into some pretty rough areas,
to deal with people who might be volitale,
armed only with a notebook, and a cell phone,
it would seem a lot more logical to have a police officer,
who shows some authority,
who is armed and has back up to go and investigate.
The child need not be scared that he/she has "ratted" on their family members
The police officer is not there because the child complained,
they are there to find out why that child has not attended school,
and why the parents have not contacted the school,
and/or produced some proof of illness..
They are there to SEE the child, for themselves,
and, they do not leave until that child stands before them.
Any child who misses a lot of school
and who the school counselor suspects has been mistreated,
should be investigated by the Police Department first,
and Child Protective Services, afterwards...
And, a official complaint/report should automatically be filled
jointly with the Police Department and Child Protective Services.
Until such time that social workers have the tools necessary,
until such time that their work is clearly defined,
until such time that there are enough of them to handle their case loads,
The Police should be involved AT THE VERY BEGINNING...
It is not enough to wait for neighbors, however well-intended, to pick up a phone and call--it's just psychologically hard for some people to do that...it can, however, be the school's responsibility...
That way, child would not fall between the tracks in the system.
There would be a definite time frame for reporting, and investigating.
If I had been TK’s school counselor or teacher,
and been as concerned as they were,
I would have called the police and said,
I want to report a child missing who has not been at school.
Any child who is not attending school on a regular basis,
under the age of 10,
in my opinion, is an endangered child,
not a truant...
Something is wrong...
Some division in Child Protective Services,
should fuse with some division within the Police Department...
Until Child Protective Services can truly protect,
Schools should call the police and report a missing child,
just as they have the right to do with aggravated assault...
Better to assume...than come upon a murder...
(...some thoughts...free thinking...)
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