As a a a School

Updated on May 23, 2014
D.P. asks from McKinney, TX
27 answers

At my dd's dismissal last week, I decided to stay until the parking lot traffic cleared. Two girls were still waiting for their rides so I decided to wait until their rides got there. After 20 minutes, I told the two girls to got to the office and call home. We have a closed school. They tried to buzz in but nobody opened the doors. They did let us in the school when they saw me out there with them. I gave them my phone to call home. One mom simply forgot and was waiting for her daughter at the bus stop. She was there in a jiffy. The second mom told her daughter that her friend borrowed her car. Her ride did not get there until 50 mins after dismissal and waved at me like she was 5 mins late.

I honestly do not mind waiting with the kids but I was horrified in more than one way.
1.) The fact that the teacher did not make sure that the kids had rides (The excuse was that they are normally busers and that she was not told by the girls)
2.) The fact that the school would not let the girls back in when it was not even after 5pm. Latchkey is there until 6 pm. They should at least be allowed to make a call.
3.) The fact that the parent did not even notify the school (Not the one who forgot but the one who knew. Apparently the kid waited the day before in the rain).

I did take the issue to their HR teacher. I told her my concerns. I can just imagine if the kid was waiting by herself. She is only in 4th grade and I look at my fourth grader and I can not imagine putting her in such a situation. The concept of time is so much different for children, 50 mins would probably feel like forever.

My question..Who is liable for the children's safety once the step out of the school? Common sense says the teacher should have made sure that the kids are going to the bus. It really takes less than 15 min to do that. By then the busses pull out and you see which kids are behind.

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So What Happened?

I do agree with most that the responsibility lands primarily with the parents. But when the kid is already there stuck. It's hard to say "que sera sera." BTW, the kid is there again waiting today but the teacher is now waiting with her. The kid broke my heart again. She said, "She (parent) does not care. I am not her kid. She is my stepmom." In my world she should be her kid too. I told her to talk to her dad.

BTW, I never said school should be left open. Just that they should be able to go in (buzzed in) but then again...liability issues. The whole situation just sucks.

I would have and did offer to drive the kid home but the kid said, she does not know where she lives (???). She was a bit secretive about that so I let it go. I do not know the stepmom and have met the father once on the beginning of the school year.

Featured Answers



answers from Kansas City on

I would think the student is the school's responsibility until they hand her over to an adult. Glad you were there to help!

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answers from Kansas City on

As a parent...
My kids, my responsibility. I agree with Julie- this is a school, not free childcare. I could run all kinds of errands in 50 minutes!

And as a teacher...
Our school uses teachers/staff for car duty. Any kids remaining after the cars have left are brought back in to the office to call mom or dad. It is ridiculous the number of kids that are brought back in on a daily basis- and it's usually the same kids again and again.

At our school, if the student is a bus rider, he rides the bus unless there is a written note. If he is a car rider, he goes into the car line unless there is a written note.

I understand that emergencies happen and things come up now and then, but 50 minutes is inexcusable. Thank you for being a guardian angel to these kids and for caring enough to take the time to make sure that they are okay!

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answers from Boston on

In our school district, K-2 is supervised at dismissal, meaning that a teacher stays with the walkers/pick ups and the bus kids go to a common area to line up for the buses and they are supervised as well. If a child being picked up is still waiting 5 minutes after dismissal, the teacher brings him or her to the office and the office staff call the parent.

But in grade 3 and up, self-transport kids (walked or picked up) are more or less on their own at dismissal and the school is locked and office empty maybe 20 minutes after dismissal. I don't know what would happen to a kid who got lost in the shuffle because there is an after-school program, but the staff from there are so far from the front door that no one would know if someone was ringing.

I don't think that teachers or staff were wrong - there was clearly a case of parent failure here - but I think your situation brings up an opportunity to figure out how a child left on campus should get help after school hours if needed.

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answers from Portland on

Some people might think the school is responsible for children's safety for as long as the kids are on campus, but I don't agree. There are too many variables, permissive parents, kids on wheels, etc for the school to assume that responsibility or liability.

First, schools are insured to have students in the school between certain times only. I can understand that the school wouldn't have just been open to all comers, because you don't want unattended children entering the building, for all sorts of reasons.

My sense is that we all need to be responsible for our own kids and to help out others when we can. You did the right thing in the situation, D., but I think it's important to also cut a lot of slack in other places. Maybe the girls buzzed in but the secretary was in the bathroom and didn't hear it. I've had to wait almost five minutes on occasion after hours because the secretary was out of the office--doing her job. Certainly, these were communication mishaps, and it is good for families to have emergency plans in place *for their own kids*. If my son were old enough to wait outside for me, he would be taught "if I don't show up and you are getting worried, ask one of the other parents to call me on their cell". Simple stuff like that so kids have at least an inkling of what to do. Most parents know that other parents (like you) won't leave kids in a lurch. We are trusting the village when there is no other resort, right? The village is usually pretty good about doing what's right.

In third grade I often walked home alone and came home to an empty house. I was able to handle it. I am not advocating this, by the way, just suggesting that we should be doing our best as parents to teach our kids what to do in those situations so they don't get scared and panic. Teach them how long to wait before asking for help, and then, who to ask. Find out what the school's policy is in regard to letting kids back in to use the phone. These are the common-sense things that we as parent CAN do, so when these mishaps happen, they aren't a big scary deal.

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answers from Richland on

Did the school actually say they let them in because they saw you or did you just decide that? My ex forgot my kids a few times, they went to the door before the teachers exited the parking lot and called their dad.

I don't think the school is responsible because their parents forgot they were supposed to get them. The parents call say don't put them on the bus, and then forget, how is that the schools responsibility? When my kids were forgot I blamed my ex.

Sure the school let them wait in the office but that was because my kids requested it.

Under your theory a bus should sit at every bus stop until each child is turned over to a parent. Same thing, different end of the ride. I want to yell this but I won't, they are our children! We are responsible for picking them up at school.

Can you just imagine what would happen if something is in place that the school collects the kids? Oh, I am running late today, I will call the school and tell them I am picking the kids up! Then I get free childcare.

We need to go back to being a culture that doesn't expect everyone else to cover for us. We are responsible for our own kids.

Per your what happened: It does suck but it sucks because some parents just don't care. Like the step mom you spoke of. Like my ex, he only wanted custody to decrease his child support so if it doesn't put that in jeopardy he doesn't care. This is becoming a rather messed up country and the children seem to be always the ones suffering for it.

I guess my problem is how many bad parenting issues should a school be required to deal with before we start directing attention back to the parents?

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answers from New York on

Parents are responsible, not the school. You say school,should be left open. Ummmmm. If someone got in the school that shouldn't be you would be up in arms, saying school should be locked. Teachers cannot be expected to put fourth graders on the bus each and every day. That's crazy. They are not babysitters. I am sure she was not the first to be left waiting for a parent and she won't be the last. She has probably waited in the past.

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answers from Cleveland on

Teachers at our school aren't responsible and I think that's fair but the office is at least open for a while. I think the school should be open for say 30 min after dismissal but that's it. It's the parents' responsibility and fault. I don't want to see more tax dollars going to keep offices open etc bc of more irresponsible parents. Sucks and I'd have helped just like you did but I see it as individual responsibility. It's a slippery slope otherwise. Parents will be later and later knowing the school or teacher is responsible. This parent didn't have a friend to call?? 50 min late super lame and things happen but she should have offered a long and sincere thank you and apology.

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answers from Springfield on

At our school only the PreK and K classes are walked to the bus by their teacher. Also, those teacher bring the entire class to the front of the school and make sure that non-bus riders and picked up. The rest of the kids are on their own.

Our principal does stay out at the front of the school (where parents are to pick up kids) to make sure everyone is safe. Also, I have noticed that as soon as all the kids are picked up, she radios the buses to let them know they can now leave.

I do think it's reasonable for 4th graders to be responsible enough to wait alone. However, I really do agree that the school office should be open for at least 30 minutes after the kids are dismissed. I thought all the teachers were required to stay for 30 minutes or so after school is out? That was in my contract when I used to teach.

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answers from Honolulu on

1) Many Teachers do not know what a student's "plans" are after school per pick up or when or how or who, because the parents do not inform the Teacher of said plans. And even if a parent "expects" their kid to tell their Teacher, MANY kids do not, because they forget etc.
In a classroom of say 25 or more kids, each day, a student's going home plans, may change or not. UNLESS a parent tells the school or the Teacher, a teacher assumes, there is no change in pick-up plans, for any student. Because no one told the Teacher, anything.
2) A school office has office hours. And a student can go to the office (at least at my kids' school), even after school as long as the office is open.... IF OR WHEN, their parent is late. Or for any concern. And the office is open and the school staff does attend to them or lets the child, use the SCHOOL's phone, to call their parent etc.
Per Afterschool Care, which is until 6:00pm, if a child is enrolled in after school care, (per my kids' school), then it is the After School Care organization, that is responsible for the children, AND in letting them make phone calls to their parents etc.
3) MANY MANY MANY parents, on a daily basis, do NOT inform the school or Teacher of anything, per any change of pick up plans or lateness that the parent may be prone to. And MANY times (I work at a school and see this myself).... MANY MANY TIMES, there are many kids, WAITING after school, waiting and waiting for their parent to pick them up... and their parent is LATE. A few times, I have seen kids, waiting and it is like already 4:30pm, and the kid is STILL there, waiting for their parent to pick them up. (and school ends at like 2:30). And by 4:30pm, the school office is closed. And even if it is raining, kids may be waiting. But, SOME parents cannot pick up their child any earlier, even if it is raining... because of their work schedule. And they simply cannot come any earlier, and they cannot afford to put their child in After School Care either. So, their child... waits and waits. After school, for their ride or for their parent to pick them up. Even if it is hours, later.
Also bear in mind, that IF a school staff "questions" a parent as to why their child is not picked up PROMPTLY, they get... pissed and irked, at the school staff. They feel, this is none of the school's business, to interfere in their "family's" schedule and demands and timing.
BUT, SOME kids, do go to the school office, to tell the Staff that their parent is late. And the school Staff, CALLS the parent. And the child waits in the school office. BUT... some parents REPEATEDLY pick up their kid late. Everyday. Even if the school REMINDS them. Some parents do not, heed, to "reminders."

Yes, it is worrisome if a kid is waiting and waiting after school and their parent is late. But, this is the scenario, lots of times, for many kids, at many schools. And many parents do this.
And, a Teacher... CANNOT check each student after school to see where they went, or if they went where they are supposed to, or if they went on the bus, or if they wandered off campus, or if they went to their After Care site. In a classroom of 25+ students, following & shadowing each kid after school, is impossible. AND after school, a Teacher has to be in her classroom, they are talking to parents, handling issues with kids even in the classroom after school, looking for lost items, going to meetings, handling impromptu messages or parents walking into their room etc.
After school is a hectic time for a Teacher. I know. I work at a school and also Sub Teach. There is no way... a Teacher can follow each student after school to see if they went straight... to their pick up location or on the bus.

MANY kids, do not even know... WHY their parent is late in picking them up. Either. Some kids don't even get picked up even after 2 hours of waiting after school. I have actually ASKED these kids "how come you are still waiting for your Mom to pick you up?" And they will say things like "I don't know..." or "This is what I do everyday..." or "I don't know what time it is... I don't have a watch...." or "I don't have a phone to call my Mom.... I don't know where she is..." And OFTEN times, the parent does NOT even call the school... to tell them they are late.
And quite frankly... even if I work at the school and KNOW all of the kids and most of the parents... I "cannot" just take the kid home myself. I am not allowed to. Nor by the parent. And I am hesitant to even let a kid use my phone to call their Mom, because, some parents get miffed about it, that they are being called and "questioned" as to why they are late.
Yes, parents get pissed. If you question them as to why their child is STILL waiting after school.

It is not so easy. And it is not all neat and tidy, per pick ups for children or their parents timing behavior or reasons for being late.

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answers from Boston on

No child should be left on school property unattended. They are with a parent, or they are with a teacher or a bus aide. If the parent doesn't arrive within a set time period (say, 10 minutes from scheduled pick-up), then the kids go back inside the school and sit in the office or somewhere else where it is inconvenient for the parent to go get them (get buzzed in, sign them out, etc.) so that the next time the parent is more motivated to get there rather than just assume someone is taking over with nothing else on their plate to do. If there's a paid after-school program, the parent should be charged for using it after the second occurrence. If a parent calls with a flat tire or some other unavoidable crisis, that's one thing. If someone is habitually late, that's another.

Under no circumstances should a child be left with a parent who is not on the child's emergency contact list (like we have neighbors who are authorized by us to pick up our kids in a pinch, but we still have to call to set it up or the school can call if a kid is sick and the parent can't be reached). It was lovely of you to wait, I'm not saying it wasn't - thank goodness you were there! But there is a huge liability issue if schools rely on that.

If the children are attended to until they are handed off to the next adult (bus driver, parent, authorized pick-up friend/relative), then the issue of being buzzed back into the school will not come up. But yeah, they were crazy to not let them back in unless they really thought there was a teacher out there - but they still should have checked.

The other thing that works is to call the police department's non-emergency number (NOT 911!!) and say, "There's a situation at the elementary school. There are 2 children standing here unattended, with no staff person and no parent in sight. I'm not comfortable being in charge of them and I don't know what to do. The school will not let them back in, and I'm not authorized to transport them. Please send a school resource officer to assist." Give the police your name and your car description so that there is a record of when you called and that you weren't just lurking around butting in - you called authorities. Then you are covered while you wait with them.

My husband did that when he found a child on the side of a busy street just waiting. An officer was there in about 3 minutes. Neither the school nor the parent will ever let that happen again.

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answers from Atlanta on

Just a side note--unless I am personally acquainted with a student and his/her parents and can communicate with them about transporting their child, I would not take them in my car. It would not be wise or appropriate for me to take on the role of getting that child home, and the child should also have been trained not to get into a car with a stranger. Maybe that's why she told you that she doesn't know where she lives--she has been told not to get into strangers' cars, and she was politely declining your offer. Sure, you know you are not a threat, however she doesn't know that and she really CAN'T know that you aren't a threat. At our kids' school (rural community, very small private school), only authorized people are supposed to pick up a kid, however my 12-year old regularly gets rides with a variety of parents after cross country practice. They're just bringing him from the school on campus to my office or the library, but I still have had a few anxious moments wondering whether he was going to show up at my office or had been dropped at the library, and particularly whether the other parents was going to be stressed about where to leave him.

Back to your situation and driving the child home... the girl might know that she can't reliably direct you to her house. One of my daughter's friends has lived in the same house all her life, but when she was being driven home by another parent, she had them driving in circles for 10 minutes in the neighborhood because she couldn't remember the correct turn. So I think it was ideal that you waited with her until her ride arrived and alerted the teacher to the situation. Maybe the teacher has a little conversation with the mother about needing to communicate with the gal/school about plans.

Also, it was probably a great idea to suggest that she talk to her father about the step mother being late--blended family situations are complicated, and the fact that the girl THINKS her step mother doesn't care about her (regardless of whether it is true--don't assume it is) means that they need to work on something.

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answers from Houston on

Don't blame her teacher. After school teachers have rotating duties. Some have bus duty, others cafeteria, duty, others have after school tutorials, etc.

it seems like you are a scary cat. You blame those not directly involved, but when the mama came and waved like she was only 5 minutes you let her pass without a word. Why?

A word to HER would have put an end to her negligence.

Gamma G., if if if teachers and staff waited all evening for parents, then who will watch OUR children? We have families, too!

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answers from Washington DC on

At our old elementary school, a teacher (or adult aide) was always outside monitoring the car pickup line. If a child were left standing there and no more cars were coming, that adult monitor would have taken that child inside to call someone.

I think the classroom teacher is not to blame though you seem to feel that the classroom teacher is responsible for getting kids to buses or cars--?

This is not the role of classroom teachers, many of whom must remain in their classrooms after the last bell rings to meet with parents, meet with other teachers or administrators, give a make-up test to a student who missed one, run an after-school event or club, etc.

Your school needs better systems for a rotation among certain teachers, staff etc. to monitor departures. Our gym teachers, music and art teachers, teaching aides, office aides, etc. filled this role on a rota.

Also, what is the role of student safety patrols at your school? Getting kids into cars and onto buses was what sixth grade safety patrols did at our elementary school, and they had adult teachers and coaches etc. out there with them if a question came up, or a kid said "I'm supposed to ride the bus with Sally today" or was not picked up in the car line, or whatever.

Also, at our school, at the start of the year parents were given notepads of small yellow forms; if there was any change to routine on a given day, the parent was supposed to use that form to indicate the change to the teacher, such as checking off "My child will ride home with (fill in the blank)" or "My child will ride Bus 5 with Best Friend's Name" etc. That provided a written and signed confirmation that both parent and teacher knew about. If your school does not have this system -- bring it up at PTA before the year is out and see if you can get it in place before next fall.

Yes, this system does depend on the kid giving the teacher the form that day. But it's better than expecting the teacher to read the parent's mind about changes to the routine.

So I'd want to know: Why doesn't your school have teachers, aides, office staffers, coaches -- employees -- who take turns on duty after school at the bus boarding area and in the car line pickup area? It should. Ours did. Doesn't your school have safety patrols? Do they just stand around? Ours were very active in announcing which buses had arrived at school, which bus was full and departing, announcing when all buses were gone, etc.

Take action rather than just expressing concern. Go to the PTA before this school year ends and advocate for a different system if the one you have is a concern to you. If there is no safety patrol program, see if a teacher or coach will be the adviser for one; kids consider it an honor and if it's run right it can be very useful.

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answers from Appleton on

After the number of school shootings I understand why the school is locked and they don't want to let anyone in but.... there should be a doorbell or buzzer and an intrercom for the kids to let those inside to know if there is trouble or if they are waiting and no one has come to pick them up. Yes, both parents dropped the ball but I've forgotten to pick up kids, no one is perfect. The Mom who loaned her car should have asked you to drop her child off, I would have taken the child home.
To answer your question, I believe the school is responsibile for the children's safety as long they are on school property or on the bus.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Let's see. Mom has a wreck on the way to school to pick up the kiddos. Dad is out of town on business. Kids don't get picked up at all.

IF IF IF the responsibility of the school ends when the bell rings then those kids might have still been standing there at 10pm at night if "It's the parents job" is accurate.

IF IF IF the school is responsible until the child is picked up then the school would be outside with the kids until all are picked up. If they have kids not picked up they simply take them back inside and call the parents phone. If they don't answer they go down the list of people who can pick them up.

IF not one person on that list will come get them then the school has the responsibility to call the police to report an abandoned child. Once the officer determines that child to be abandoned they would call child welfare and have them pick the child up.

Sometimes things happen and parents can't be there on time. I think that the school has the responsibility in this matter 100%. If those kids were not picked up on time then the parking lot person should have taken them back inside and sat them down in the office while the secretary called the numbers then moved on from there.

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answers from Wausau on

My kid's elementary school has procedures. At the end of the day, bus kids are directed to correct bus line. Teachers take turns being bus monitors.

If a bus kid is not taking the bus, or a walker is taking a bus with another kid, the parent has to send a note.

Walkers are free to leave, regardless of a parent being present. Some parents arrange to pick up their kids, but many kids walk alone. 4th graders often walk or bike to school alone if they live within a mile of the school. I never felt comfortable with that so I'd walk with my kids, but I see it all the time with other kids in our neighborhood.

The teacher's 'excuse' was a valid explanation. She is not at fault here.
I agree that 2 & 3 are weird.

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answers from Las Vegas on

It was my understanding, growing up, children are the responsibility of the school, even on the way home. I would imagine each state has their own law on that.

In our school, any child left without a parent is taken to extended care and the parents are charged.

I would never offer a child a ride home, not today. I would call the parents, which I understand you did, but never put them in my car. There are of course a few exceptions, like the neighbor's kid or a very close friend, but even so, I would likely call the parents and wait like you did.

The little girl was probably already taught not to accept rides and that is why she said she didn't know where she lives...playing dumb.

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answers from San Francisco on

I believe the school is responsible for a reasonable length of time for the kids to walk to and from. But I don't think the teacher of 4th grade students should have to make sure the kids get on the bus. Maybe in K, but not in 4th grade. And even if she did monitor, the kids would have told her they were getting picked up, and that would have been that. I bet the mother who was 50 minutes late was embarrassed and that's why she just waved and drove on. Sometimes unexpected things happen. I'm sure the mom told her friend to be back in time to pick up DD, but you can't control another person.

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answers from Washington DC on

Your children are very lucky to have such a great mom. You can and do only what you can to help children, but even then kids slip through the cracks. It IS heartbreaking, but you must not focus on it that way. So many kids today born to selfish, sorry parents. It's a shame to think how they will raise their own kids someday. Sad.

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answers from Honolulu on

I do think that most schools do should have a dismissal plan that includes having students call if the parent doesn't pick up on time. I would not say the school should be liable as much as there should be someone watching for kids who are just hanging out waiting after a certain time ie. 20 minutes after the end of the day.
The fact that some parents leave their kids late frequently should be addressed in a call or written letter home. If it continues and the child is too young to be alone, I think a call to the police would be appropriate and hopefully get the point across. Since the child is technically just being left alone on the street, this would probably be considered neglectful or endangerment. I guess it depends on the frequency and amount of time. What a sad situation.
What I would say though is that depending on your neighborhood, the weather, exc. I don't think a 4th grader waiting around by themselves is necessarily that bad. For example, on a nice afternoon, if a 11 year old was waiting (and knowing someone was going to be late for a good reason) it wouldnt be so bad to sit and read a book in front of the school for 30 minutes. It is more the fact it is super inconsiderate and shows a lack of love/caring to frequently leave your kid waiting for you. Also inconsiderate to the school staff of course.

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answers from San Francisco on

The public school in our area is like that, too. Closed campus, and once the kids step outside to wait for their parents, it's like they might as well be on another planet, as far as the school administration is concerned. Last year, a first grader went missing after school. Nobody knew where he was, the police were called, and the child was finally found an hour later, just wandering around. He went outside after school and didn't see his mom's car right away (turns out she was waiting in the long line of cars at the pick-up area, but in a sea of 1500 kids and tons of parents, he couldn't see her). He panicked and figured he would just walk home! He got lost along the way and finally went up to someone's door and knocked on it. (Can you even imagine?!) Luckily, it was a retired Grandma who answered the door, and she immediately got on the phone with the school. Still - imagine what could have happened! And yet, apparently no changes have been made to the pick-up process. It's still a total zoo at pick-up time. It always terrified me when my kids went there, because honestly, if some creepy person wanted to, they could just wade into the fray, snatch up a kid, and run off with them. Nobody would ever be the wiser until the parents couldn't find them.

Anyway, yeah, I get what you're saying. Really, the parents should be there, no matter what, rain or shine - and if there's some emergency where they can't, they need to call the school and let someone know. But even if the parents ARE there, even then it's such chaos that it's still possible for things to go wrong.

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answers from Los Angeles on

At our school, only the kindergarten teachers are responsible for releasing a child directly to his/her parent. They release the kids one at a time when they see the caregiver there waiting for the child.

For the 1st - 6th graders, once the kids are dismissed, they walk out of their classrooms and are essentially on their own. No one checks to see that they get picked up or have someone to go home with. We do have a drive-through pick-up line, where parents drive up and the kids get into their cars one at a time as their parent reaches the front. This line is always monitored by a teacher or staff member. No one rides a school bus - either your parents drive, or you walk or bike.

All that said, our office IS open after school and children whose parents don't show up can wait in there. The office will call after a certain amount of time (not sure...somewhere between 15-30 minutes) and make sure someone is coming to get the child.

I do wish there was a little more security in making sure kids get picked up, but I don't think it's realistic for the teachers to be responsible for it.

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answers from Grand Forks on

At our school the bus students are walked out to the bus, the pick up students are handed off to parents at the door and the remainder of the students walk/bike home on their own. If there are any pick up students whose parents do not arrive to pick them up them they are sent to the office to phone before the office closes.

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answers from Los Angeles on

It wouldn't happen at our elementary or middle school. If you're picking up a student, you have to fill out a written request ONCE you're there. The kids are called from those slips from the rooms before dismissal.
Personally, I would have driven the girl home myself rather than sit there for 50 minutes.
I think the school AND the parents share responsibility in this.
Our busses are not dismissed from the school until EVERY child is OUT of each wing of the middle school.
They check. Every day.
Then clear the busses for take off.
Your school policy seems set up for this type of incident.
At our schools if you're not riding the bus home? Parent has to send a written note AND FIL our dismissal form at EOD before the student is released.



answers from Portland on

My own children's elementary school is CRAZY about stuff like this. The children have to be signed out with their teacher at the end of the day, after 20 mins all children left sit in the library taking turns calling parents and emergency contacts. I hate the system because it can often turn in to having personal conversation with the teachers or waiting for someone else's to finish so you can get the dang sign out sheet. On the other hand it is always nice to know that if I have business out of town and am trying to beat the clock to pick them up they are safe.

Such practices end in 6th grade though. The 11 year olds aren't even supervised out side.



answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like a cascade of errors, starting with the kids not going back into the school sooner to ask for a phone to call home. My own mother forgot me one day after a theatre program and I sat on the steps of my middle school for an hour. This was the days before cell phones. So it happens just by mistake sometimes.

At our ES, the school is very clear that before 8:45 or after 3:45, there may not be staff to take care of children. After 8:45 they either eat breakfast in the cafeteria or sit by their classrooms (there's usually someone in the hall) til their homeroom is open. They are expected to be dismissed and go home quickly after school. If the kid needs to be there before 8:45, they need to be signed up for before care, which is offered on site. 15 minutes is long enough for kids to realize their ride isn't there, they missed the bus, etc. So they may have missed the window, the office person may not have been there to see them try to get in, etc. The teacher probably assumed all was well. On our school, the only kids who get picked up directly from class or walked to their bus are the PreK and K kids. The latchkey program is probably something you need to pay for (ours was) and they cannot legally be responsible for children that are not signed up. Kids in the building without supervision can get hurt, and that is another liability for the school.

If the one parent is perpetually late, then that is a different problem. I feel for the kid, but while a well-meaning parent or teacher can look out for the kid, it's not their job per se. I always try to help kids when I can, but I can't always make up for a lazy parent. I don't want to be that person stuck everyday waiting for the parent to arrive, and if I know it's a frequent issue, I might ask the school to talk to the parent and nudge him/her toward things like after school care or just being on time.

I see in your SWH that the kid is being left by her caregiver. As a SM myself, that ticks me off, because if that's her job, she needs to do it. I managed to get myself to school as needed for my sks, even with my infant DD in tow. When I worked FT, my SD was in after care til her father or mother could get her. If the SM cannot be there on time, then the father needs to be informed that this pick up situation is not working.

The only person I'd want to pick up my kid is one other mom that I know and associate with outside of school. I did occasionally provide rides for teenagers (like after football) but a 16 yr old is different than a 6 yr old. So again, at the ES level, I'd go the route of communicating with the school and letting them confront the parent. Now that they are aware, a teacher is with the child and hopefully they can resolve this for the kid.



answers from Philadelphia on

Our middle schools and high schools are a free-for-all at dismissal.

Our elementary schools, however, run pick up time with a military-like precision. There is a pickup line for the cars (line starts forming 20 minutes before school lets out). The car enters the pickup circle. The kids who are being picked up (every single one) are gathered in the gym. Kids who take the bus are lined up in the gym, too, according to bus number and walked out to their busses when they get there. There is a teacher with a walkie-talkie outside with the cars and another one inside the gym. Car pulls up to walkie-talkie teacher and says kids' names, teacher repeats name to other teacher. They call out kids names in gym and release them. Kids come out to car and get in, and car leaves.

NO child is simply "let out" without someone there to receive them. At the beginning of the school year, we have to sign forms stating who is allowed to pick up the kids. If a kid is going home with another parent not on that list (playdate, for example), there MUST be a signed note turned in before it happens. I'm not sure what happens in an emergency. But I DO know that they won't ever let a kid wander around outside for hours, or even minutes. I've never heard of any issues of missing kids or kids waiting out in the rain or anything like that.

I think parents, teachers and schools are all responsible for the child at dismissal time. Parents need to make sure their child is picked up or on a bus. Teachers and the school need to make sure they've safely delivered the child to the intended bus or parent. They really need to work together and not blame each other. No child should be sitting in the rain for an hour. Ever. School and parent are BOTH at fault.

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