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Missing Child: School Procedures

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Earlier I posted about needing information about police procedures in the case of a missing child. Now I need to know about school procedures. I have emailed a few school representatives, but so far am not getting much help. So, does anyone know the answers to the below questions? Or who I might contact about them?

* If a teacher were to have their child go missing, how much leave would the teacher receive from the school to deal with the situation?
* What procedures would the teacher have to go through to receive permission to have leave?
* Who in the school would know why the teacher was absent? Just administrators? Teachers too? All staff?
* How would news be shared with the students? Would the principal wait until the media shared the news?
* What if police wanted to question staff and/or students? What procedures would need to take place if any to accommodate?
* How would a school prepare for the return of the teacher?
#1 - October 25, 2012, 06:20 AM

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I don't understand why the teacher would need leave. Not unless they were the subject of a criminal investigation...

When kids at my kids' schools have died, all the teachers were there to help make things as normal and comforting for the kids who were left.
#2 - October 25, 2012, 09:15 AM

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I don't understand why the teacher would need leave. Not unless they were the subject of a criminal investigation...

When kids at my kids' schools have died, all the teachers were there to help make things as normal and comforting for the kids who were left.

Sorry, I didn't phrase that correctly. If a teacher were to have her own child go missing, how much leave would the school allow her to deal with that situation?
#3 - October 25, 2012, 10:24 AM

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Ah. That makes a lot more sense!! And I have no idea. I imagine she'd get off for specific things she needed to do (questioning by police, etc.)--but I suspect they wouldn't just give her leave to deal with it emotionally. But I'm not on any school board, so...
#4 - October 25, 2012, 10:42 AM

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Policies would vary in different school districts and in public vs private schools within the same district. Some responses would be up to the principal of the individual school.
Most schools allow unpaid leave for extended maternity time off (after using sick and personal leave allocations), so I'd assume a school would allow unpaid leave in this situation.
For how the news would be shared with students- probably depends on age of students and size of school and personality of principal.  I attended a big high school, and I remember the principal making an announcement over the loudspeaker in between classes (as we walked in the halls) that one of our classmates had died.  That seems very cold, looking back on it. 
For young students, the school counselor would probably go from class to class and explain what happened.  Everyone would hopefully be assuming that the child would be found right away and as time went on, the counselor would probably re-visit the classes and offer to meet with upset students one-on-one or in small groups.  The principal of my kids' elementary school would probably call each home (automated system that leaves a voicemail) and leave a message for parents explaining what happened and/or send a letter home with each child. 
#5 - October 25, 2012, 10:54 AM

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I don't understand why the teacher would need leave. Not unless they were the subject of a criminal investigation...

When kids at my kids' schools have died, all the teachers were there to help make things as normal and comforting for the kids who were left.

I've been so caught up in the factual side of my story that I overlooked the emotional side. You've inspired two different questions:
* Have any of you been in a school where a child went missing?
* What was that experience like?
#6 - October 25, 2012, 11:18 AM
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 11:22 AM by Allison »

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Stacey, thanks for your input! It really helped. As a school teacher, I have faced other crisis situations and so was guessing what might happen based on my own experiences. Good to know you've had similar ones. :-)

PS I also finally got contact with a retired principal from my hometown. So, this should help too.
#7 - October 25, 2012, 11:25 AM

This website is really informative - it has a lot of material written for parents and also law enforcement:

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PublicHomeServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US

This one talks about child abduction from a sibling's point of view:

http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/CopingSiblingAbduction.pdf
#8 - November 02, 2012, 09:25 AM

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There was a girl abducted near us recently (like within the past few weeks).  Based on what happened with that, here are some answers:

1.  The teacher (mom) would be called as soon as the child didn't make it to their own school.
2.  The teacher can always leave during the day at any time for an emergency (I'm sure the principal would allow for the mom's need to be helping find her child).
3.  Once the child is declared officially missing, an Amber alert is given -- so the other teachers and students would hear about it, at that point (though Amber alerts don't go out through the schools -- it's a public alert).
4.  I'm sure the teacher could take leave for a while...depending on how long the search goes on, eventually, she'd have to make a choice if she wanted to keep her job or not.
5.  The kids who go to school with the missing child are offered counseling (and in the case of our district, that school was closed for a day after the girl went missing). 
6.  There were also counselors available for anyone in the community after a couple of days (there was a fair amount of fear throughout this section of the district).
7.  When the girl's body was found and identified, I believe her school had another day off -- and they had a counselor talk to the students at that school.  The district again made the offer for counseling for anyone in the community too.

I don't think most schools would do anything different for their teachers in this situation than they would in any other life situation.  Teachers, like any other professions, have to figure out how to balance life with work, and I don't think any school districts around here would give special consideration to the type of grief the person is experiencing.  One of our teachers lost her husband in a tragic accident weeks before the school year started, and she had to go back to work, just like everyone else...there was no time off for mourning (I mean, she could have *taken* it, but it would be unpaid, and after a while, she would be in danger of losing her job).
#9 - November 02, 2012, 09:42 AM
Robin
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