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Bend parents alerted when students miss class

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Oct 10 2012 08:17:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 10 2012 09:27:36 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with two Bend principals about the procedure they take when a child does not show up for class and a parent did not excuse his or her absence.

BEND, Ore. -

A massive search is under way in Westminster, Colorado for a 10-year-old girl who never made it to school Friday morning.

For Bend families, if a child is not in class, when will the parents be notified? Depending on how old the child is, the results will be different.

At Bend middle schools, if a child doesn't show up for class, parents will get an automated message on their phones.

"We have a phone call that goes out at about 12:30 p.m. or so in the afternoon, to all families who's students have been absent for part of, or all of the day," Sky View Middle School Principal Scott Edmondson said Wednesday

With almost 800 students at Sky View, Edmondson said the process could take a long time, depending on how many kids are absent. But in an emergency situation, minutes and hours are crucial.

The earliest parents would get a call is noon and the latest is 2:30 p.m.

"Sometimes, it might be too late -- and that's a terrible, terrible thing," Edmondson said.

For several parents who were waiting to pick up their kids outside the middle school Wednesday afternoon, they said the end of the school day is too late to find out.

"The quicker they can start the search, the better," said Wendy Lewis, a grandmother of four. "Whether it be five minutes after the child can't seem to be found, or whether it's an hour, the faster turnaround, the better for the kids."

"I'd like to know," said mother Michele Higgins. "I mean, it would be nice if there was accountability in the morning, but I also know the system. They're overcrowded and they're busy."

But the younger the child, the sooner the phone call. At Lava Ridge Elementary School, parents are alerted first thing in the morning.  

"If we don't know why the student isn't there, we get on the phone and get all the calls started by 9:15 in the morning," said Principal Jon Lindsay.

With more than 500 students to watch out for, Lindsay said safety is their No. 1 priority, and sometimes they're overly cautious.

"We've ended up calling parents and telling them their kid is not here, scare -- but then we find the child," said Lindsay. "They were actually in the classroom. We would rather be (erring) on the side of that, than not safe enough."

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