Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


September 4, 2012

Safety net — Alert system welcomed in Tazewell

It will be harder for children to skip school beginning today in Tazewell County. A new automated caller system is scheduled to go online this morning in all Tazewell County schools. The system will alert parents when their children don’t show up for their first-period class.

It’s an added and welcomed safety net for children in Tazewell County. Now, if a child were to skip school, or go missing, parents will be immediately notified. And when a child is missing, every second counts. That’s why the new automated system is so important.

“Our emergency notification system we’ve had in place for several years now — we’ve used the system to notify parents of emergencies, early dismissals and those kind of things,” School Superintendent Dr. Brenda Lawson said last week. “But we have modified our notification system, and this year will be notifying parents if their children are not in their first-period class. It is certainly our goal to keep parents informed. I think it is more of a safety system.”

Lawson said the automated system will call either the landline or cell phone number parents provided as their emergency contact. A letter also is being sent home to all parents notifying them of the launch of the new automated system.

When kids are unable to attend school due to a sickness or illness, parents in Tazewell County are normally “pretty good” about calling the school to let the principal know their child will be out for the day, according to Lawson.

However, if parents don’t call, and their child doesn’t show up for his or her first-period class, a call will now go out to make sure that everyone is OK.

We believe the automated caller system is a good idea. In this day and age, you can’t afford to take chances. If a child were to skip school without their parents knowledge, the child is not only being delinquent, but is also putting himself or herself in a dangerous situation.

That’s why all parents should be notified — and soon — when their child is not in the classroom.

If a child were to go missing, or be abducted, every second will count when it comes to locating the child, and ensuring that he or she is OK. The automated system provides another safety net for parents, teachers and their children.

We applaud the school system for implementing this all-important notification system.

Keeping kids in school will help to lower truancy rates and ensure that the youngsters achieve an education.

A student with a high school diploma is much more likely to avoid falling into a cycle of poverty and crime later in life. That’s why we must strive to keep kids in the classroom.

Even if it means calling their parents when they fail to show up for class.

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