Have Your Say: Who Is Responsible When Students Disappear?
When a student disappears from school, or is left on a school bus, or drowns on a school field trip, who should be held accountable?
N.M. mother Sarah Garcia found her 7-year-old son, Gabriel, wandering around a busy intersection a half mile from his elementary school last week -- in the middle of the school day. According to his mother, Gabriel was sent to the school's office, and instead tried to find his grandmother's house, reports KOAT 7, Albuquerque's ABC affiliate.
Neither his teacher or school administrators had realized the boy was missing.
Lucky for Garcia that his mother found him. Other students -- like a 4-year-old Pre-K student who was left on a school bus in October -- have gone through more traumatizing events.
According to WCCB, the North Carolina student was left on the bus during its morning route, and not discovered until the bus driver returned at 2:30 p.m. The 4-year-old suffered from dehydration and the bus driver was fired.
The same week, a bus driver in a Chicago suburb was charged with child endangerment after allegedly leaving a 3-year-old on her school bus, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
Twelve-year-old Nicole Suriel drowned during a summer class trip with her school class to a Long Island beach, reported the New York Daily News. No permissions slips were signed, the students were under-supervised and a sign stated the beach was closed and no lifeguard was on duty, wrote Peter Zucker in a recent Huffington Post blog.
Charges aren't being filed against the accompanying teachers, chaperones or the school's principal. But Suriel's death was preventable -- as was Garcia's disappearance and the school bus incidents.
So who should step up to take responsibility? Parents for not educating their children about safety issues? Teachers for not supervising the children properly? Or administrators for failing to adhere to or implement proper safety regulations?