TESD Summer Camp — Where’s the Security?

Following the Sandy Hook, Connecticut tragedy in December, school districts across America (including TESD) moved quickly to review, enhance and upgrade safety procedures. In January of this year, the TE School Board and administration sought to assure the local community that every effort and precaution was underway to make certain our schools (and our children) were safe.   The Board and the administration held a town hall meeting that included the announcement of former police chief Andy Chambers as District safety consultant, the formation of a safety committee and the infusion of $250K into the budget for immediate safety upgrades to the schools.

It has been six months since the School Board and administration announced their plans to increase the budget for safety, and to review and upgrade the safety policies of our schools.  Other than Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo’s reports at the township’s Board of Supervisors meetings, I have heard virtually no discussion from the School Board or administration on the status of the safety committee meetings, the completion of safety upgrades to the schools or any type of final report from the safety expert Andy Chambers.  I appreciate that some of the information may be protected and could pose a security risk if released to the public.  However, it is important that parents know that baseline safety procedures are thoroughly reviewed and that their children are safe which brings me to the purpose of this post.

Last night I received a very troubling email from a friend and TE School District resident, Karen Pecora, concerning a District safety issue involving her son, Christopher who is attending a summer reading camp at Hillside Elementary School.  Yesterday was Christopher’s first day of summer camp, and unfortunately for the family, a day not long to be forgotten.  Here is Karen’s story about what happened on the first day of camp … this should be a cautionary tale for all parents.

Lack of Safety at Hillside Elementary School

Christopher age 6 is enrolled in the summer reading camp that is offered to children in the TE School District who benefit from 5 weeks of small class reading instruction.  On July 1, he attended Hillside Elementary (his regular school is Valley Forge Elementary).  I dropped him off with a note that I would pick him up – I also called the camp director, Wendy Toll, and left a message to NOT put him on the bus.  Christopher has never been on a bus, as I drove him to and from school for kindergarten.

Upon arrival at Hillside for pick-up, I took my place in the car line only to be pushed aside because they could not find my son. The director, Wendy, came out and said that she had received my call but since they could not find Christopher, she assumed he was sent on the bus.  She could not be certain but her suggestion was for me to go home and try and beat the bus.  Camp lets out at 11:30 AM.  I left Hillside at 11:48 AM when the bus was scheduled to arrive at 11:47 AM!

At 11:57 AM with no bus in sight, I called 911 and the Tredyffrin police were onsite at Hillside in minutes but again the director, Mary could not confirm whether Christopher was actually on the bus.  The officers conducted an interview and did a wonderful job!  I was told that Wendy was unable to say that my child was 100% on that bus!  She admitted that she “thought” Christopher was on the bus but she shed based that on the fact that he wasn’t still at Hillside!

One hour and 6 minutes after camp let out, Christopher arrived safe and sound.

My conflict is this … Christopher was at an unfamiliar school with new, unfamiliar teachers.  My observation is that Hillside has not issued any type of sign for pick up and have provided no required a list of approved persons to pick up nor do they ask for identification from the driver in the car line!  These are basic measures taken during the school year.

I’m today’s world I cannot wrap my mind around why a district wide program does not have the same safety procedures in place!  A change must take place to keep out children safe!

Although Christopher is a good kid I do fear that if another child asked him to come over he would get off the bus at the wrong stop and if a teacher told him to get in a strangers car he would do it (just like he listened to the teacher who put him on the bus).  For this reason, I have chosen to drive him to and from school.  I cannot believe that no safety measures have been put in motion!  He is not safe in the current car line and I am not comfortable with him taking the bus, so today on the second day of camp, I have decided to keep him home!

I would like to ask the school board to put safety measures in place for this District-sponsored camp!  Quickly! Below is my contact information to be available to support other parents or answer any questions that the school board may have. Thank you for bringing this horrible situation to the attention of the community!

Karen Nudy Pecora
Karen@philadelphiaeventplanners.com
610-955-3685

In January, our School Board and administration assured the public that the safety procedures of the District were to be thoroughly reviewed and upgraded as needed to keep our children safe. The School Board approved the hiring of Andy Chambers as the safety expert and added $250K to the budget.  So what happened yesterday on the first day of summer camp to little Christopher Pecora?  Where’s the security? Where’s the safety procedures? How is it possible, that no ID is required by camp staff at the pick-up or any list of approved individuals for pick-up?  How is it possible that a child can be ‘assumed’ to be on the bus because the staff cannot find him in the school?  A parent expressly (both verbally and in writing) states that her child is to be picked-up and yet he is placed on the bus.  Where’s the accountability?

Although the Pecora family is extremely grateful to the Tredyffrin police for reacting quickly, this situation should never have occurred in the first place. What was supposed to be a fantastic first day of camp for a 6-year old turned into a nightmare for the family.  This time it all worked out and Christopher was safe but this should serve as a wake-up call — The School Board and administration needs to think about could have happened and make sure that it never happens again. Parents need assurance that the necessary safety measures are put into place immediately for all the summer camp programs.

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  1. There have been all kinds of warnings from the police about attempted child abductions (yes, even in Tredyffrin!) I am always reading about car and driver descriptions. We should expect increased security for the kids at camp, looks like what we have is no security.

  2. Is this Summer Camp run by the school district or is this a private, for-profit Summer Camp renting space from the school district?

  3. The thing with the summer camp is that it’s a bunch of staff all coming together and there are glitches. Staff that meet on the first day of camp an hour before kids arrive. New bus drivers, bus routes, carpool lines, people all working together as a ‘team’ that have just been reunited since last summer or just meeting for the first time.

    The camp sort of take over a school and try to learn the ropes on limited time.
    Nobody knows the kids very well let alone making sure they are looked after safely! The dismissal is a mess. You hope nothing like this happens but unfortunately it does. The blame shouldn’t go on the director or the administrator trying to ensure this doesn’t happen. It goes on the district as a whole. Allowing this camp to be run by a skeleton crew.

    So much for the increased security?

    The camp has been cut way back with limited staff. When it was run by a former reading teacher it was staffed very well. There was a higher # of people watching over the children. Cuts galore since it was taken over by administration applying to this camp is like finding the golden ticket in the chocolate bar if you are hired.

  4. One of my children attended reading camp when he was 6 and loved it! It was amazing how much it helped his dyslexia, and he is now reading above grade level largely because of the skills this camp taught him. I wish all children could attend, I would pay for it!
    However, the bus transportation was often late…both picking up and dropping off. After a few days, I let him take the bus there and then picked him up a few minutes early from the classroom because it would make me nervous waiting for an extra half hour at the bus stop, and dismissal seemed disorganized.
    There needs to be an attendance list which states how each child should be dismissed for the day. In the morning, every child should get a sticker with their name and how they will be getting home (such as Bus #9 or Car-Mom etc.) so everyone knows. The director of the camp should also have the phone numbers of the bus drivers in case of an emergency situation like this.
    Hopefully better safety measures will be taken in the future!

  5. Sadly, this happened to a friend of mine on her child’s first day of kindergarten. The child had a car pool sticker on and for whatever reason, was ushered to the steps of the bus without anyone taking a moment to look at the childs face, much less the sticker attached boldly front and center on their chest. The 5 year old child had never been on a bus before and had no idea where they lived much less what bus stop to get off at where no one would be waiting for them even if they did know.

    The mother was understandably terrified when she found out and headed straight for the school where the employee not only did not apologize, act concerned or say they were sorry, they blamed the child.

    This is a pattern I have witnessed over the years. Administrators are never wrong, (no matter how outrageous or obvious the infraction) they never apologize and they (try to) blame label and then isolate the child and or the parent. All in view for everyone to see but just like the aides and paras, no one knows what to do about it. There is no accountability. The system is set up so you go to the very people who commit the infractions for answers and it’s no surprise you’re not going to get it.

    My friend felt helpless and alone and although she got support from friends, what else could she have done? Write a letter to the board? I don’t know of one person who has ever gotten a satisfactory response from a board member, if they got a response at all.

  6. Completely unacceptable that these basic safety measures are not in place. This needs to be resolved IMMEDIATELY.

  7. Thank you for the support in this matter. Here is the update today…
    After struggling all night with the question… “Should Christopher go back today?” I decided to keep him home and contact the school board at the listed email address: schoolboard@tesd.net. I was shocked at the response… It came from Wendy – the person who was responsible for the situation! I will make another contact in 24 hours! In hopes that Dan Waters does not send this back to Wendy to cover up and hide the true facts! The fact is that I sent a note, made a call and my child was put on a bus without any instruction as to where to get off and I was told we assume he is on the bus because he is not here! I will NOT allow anyone to change the facts of this mistake! Assuming my child was on a bus that he was NOT supposed to be on is NOT acceptable!

  8. With the recent news of child safety and emergency planning in schools, one would think that Karen would have had concrete answers to the location of her child, and that camp policy / procedure training would have been a part of training for camp adults charged with the care and accountability of the children.
    Every parent should request a copy of the school’s Emergency Operations Plan.
    Policies / procedures regarding access/egress of the facility and credentialing of should be trained to all camp adults!!
    The schools and their employees truly do care about the children- it is horrific that this event ever happened!! Hopefully T/E will review and train on this issue now at the camp, but also IN ALL of it’s schools before fall classes start!

  9. Ms. Pecora
    You have brought to attention a problem. What solution do you want? If Ms. Toll made a mistake, she is now brutally aware of it through this again public airing of individual errors. You have held Christopher off of buses for your own sanity, and that’s all good, but his own confidence can only be boosted by mastering this task.
    There are clearly safety measures in place, but on the first day, they were obviously not addressed. I know your child is precious — every child is — but is there a pound of flesh you are seeking? Perhaps some trial runs on his own bus would be helpful to his being able to advocate for himself as he grows up.
    I’m not saying this isn’t unacceptable. It isn’t. I had a child stalked in high school and I was extremely vigilant to be sure she was never alone coming to or from school until the situation was resolved.
    But when I was 5, I stood on Upper Gulph Road at Barberry Lane in Strafford to wait for my bus. I wasn’t even allowed to cross the road. The bus driver had to get out and help me climb onto the bus. Now, I’m aware as an adult that for the first few days my mother lurked in the shadows, but I was SO proud of myself for mastering the independence of getting on the school bus. (And dont’ tell me times have changed, because in fact, I was exposed to someone dangerous at Strafford School one weekend during my first grade year). We have to empower our kids, and yes — we need to be vigilant in the safety procedures for our children. We need to demand better results.

    But what are you looking for to let your child know that he is safe? And who else should have responded to your email except the person that is responsible. The board received your correspondence. They aren’t coming to the bus stop. Ms. Toll is the person in charge.

    I’m asking. Email does not convey tone, but I truly do not know what this angst does except expand it to others. Solving problems is hard, but just lamenting them is only half the battle.

    1. Most 5 year old children can’t recite their address. My child’s kindergarten teacher repeatedly apologized to parents for testing their kids on this and explained she was required to do it by the district knowing it was not an age apprpriate task. I didn’t mind. It was good practice and eventually, by 1st or 2nd grade, all kids could recite their address. But to leave a 5 year old child at a bus stop alone, in my opinion, so they can master the skill is too dangerous and too risky. And bus drivers do not get off the bus to escort kids to their seat.

      Trial runs on his own bus are a good idea but why would Ms. Nudy give Christopher trial runs when she knew she would be picking him up? This is a technique to use if you know your child will be taking the bus. She thought her child would be in the car line.

      1st and 2nd grade children cannot defend themselves from someone dangerous. You were a very lucky kid not to get hurt.

      You are doing what the administrators do. Defending something that cannot be defended and asking a child to do something the child cannot do because of his age. At least you did not blame the child. Or did you?

      1. I agree. People make mistakes and I understand that the first day of camp can be confusing for staff, parents and the kids. I believe that the responsible thing on the part of the school district and the administrator assigned to the camp would be to acknowledge that a mistake was made and to explain how they intend to ‘fix’ the process going foward. A note and follow-up phone call should have surficed to make certain that the child was not placed on the bus. Mrs. Pecora was told by the camp director (afterwards) that she did receive her phone message not to put Christopher on the bus. So why in the world was Christopher on the bus? Doesn’t seem to be an answer.

        Why don’t the bus drivers have cell phones. Seems to me when Mrs. Pecora arrived at the Hillside and no one knew where Christoper was, that rather than speculating and assuming that he was on the bus, why not call the bus driver to confirm. Mrs. Pecora explained to me that during the school year, there is a strict safety procedure at Valley Forge Elementary School when it comes to who can pick up the children, transporation, etc. Why is there such a disconnect between the security of the regular school year and summer camp?

        The summer camp is TESD sponsored = therefore, the same safety guidelines should be in place as they are during the regular school year.

        1. I don’t know how long ago, but transportation in this district was outsourced. The quality of service is deplorable. I can’t tell you how many bus drivers my kids have had over the years. One day, we were waiting at our stop for the bus to arrive in the morning and the driver was driving so irratically and fast, my neighbor would not put her kids on the bus.
          Maybe someone else can speak to this, but I’m not sure administrators can call the drivers directly. I think they call the outsourcing company and that company has to address the issue. That can takes hours, if not days.

          A look at things to come if aides and paras and others workers suffer this same fate. Ironically, in the end, the children and parents of the district are the ones who suffer most.

          1. Thanks. Someone else told me that calls from the District have to go to the outsourcing company. So after the outsource company gets a call about whether or not a child is on a bus, does the company than track down the particular bus driver and call him/her? And then that information is then relayed back to the District after the company has made contact with the driver? If that’s the process, it would appear in an emergency situation, the time delay could be critical to the outcome.

        2. The district will never admit they make mistakes that is the entire issue with the current board and current administration. They do whatever they can to placate blame back on a student or parent and hope you just give up and go away. They are never wrong, they never make mistakes or bad choices.

          This is the first sign of things to come in regards to safety and you get what you pay for. They wanted to outsource the aides and lost the battle so they will punish the aides by cutting hours and in the end they will punish the children.
          Most often children who need a little more time then the rest and it will be a costly mistake on so many levels. But does anyone really care?

        3. Yes, that is my understanding. The outsourcing company tracks down the driver and then reports back to the district. Harrowing when you’re talking about waiting for an answer on a lost 5 to 6 year old child who does not know their address or bus stop location.

          Another thing worthy of mention. Administrators do not reveal these incidences. When a child is approached by an unknown person in a car, letters go out in back packs 10 minutes after it is reported, no matter how incidental the event seems.

          Incidents related to the district or district employees or district responsibility is brushed under the carpet, presented as normal, blamed on something or someone else or not even addressed.

        4. teparent,

          yes, plenty of people care. No one knows what to do. The aids have Pattye. It takes effort and gumption and leadership to get something done. There are so many incidences like this and getting support and a plan together takes time and energy so things just go on as usual. I guess we need board members who communicate with parents. I don’t know why they don’t. It’s baffling.

  10. What’s all the ruckus about some kid getting on the bus at the end of his day at a school district sponsored reading camp? Well, I’m that kid’s grandmother and he has a name. It’s Christopher and he is 6 years old. He didn’t belong on that bus. His mom was there to pick him up from the car pool line. She followed procedure and informed the school by phone that she would be doing so. And, she sent Christopher to school with a note saying that he was to be picked up in the car pool line.

    So Christopher’s mom, who happens to be my daughter, Karen, shows up to get her son and is told that he’s not there. Well, where is he? The woman in charge says – he’s not here so he must be on the bus – W HA T ? Are you kidding me? ? By now you have read the other posts and you know that Karen raced home to the bus stop and waited for the bus. More than an hour passed before Christopher stepped off the bus into his mom’s waiting arms. But before that, it became necessary to call 911 and get the Tredyffrin Township Police Department involved. Why, you ask? Let me further explain.

    The woman in charge could not tell Karen that she was sure Christopher was on that bus. She’s a paid employee of the school district – it’s her job to know where every child is – at all times. She does this by communicating with her staff. So on this day, she failed all the way around.

    My grandson, a six year old, having never been on a school bus before was told to get on the bus. Being obedient, he did so! The issue is: he didn’t belong on the bus! His mother was there to pick him up!

    The long, the short and the good of this story is that my grandson got home safely. But by the grace of God, that woman betting on the odds that he would, truly lucked out! She claimed to have “verified” that Christopher was on the bus but failed to show proof that she even checked with the bus driver. When pressed by the police, she claimed to have made 3 calls. WHAT? If she made the first call, the rest weren’t necessary! To me, the very prayerful, standing-by grandmother, the woman in charge, her story doesn’t make sense.

    Having said all that, it’s time to set aside the emotion and get down to a plan that will prevent another parent from experiencing the anguish after being told [I don’t know where he is. I guess he’s on the bus]. Paraphrasing what was said, reading and interpreting the police report, and knowing that your child at that very moment in time, was unaccounted for, is more than any parent should have to face.

    I don’t think it’s to much to ask of the School Board Members, the Superintendent of Schools in the District, and the woman in charge of the camp: Where’s the plan to protect our children from being “misplaced’?
    If you need help in putting a viable, workable plan together, please call me.

    Oh yes I can here it all now. I’m very intuitive. That’s just the grandmother over reacting! some will say. But let me tell you, if this was your child’s story or your grandchild’s story, you would be “as fit to be tied” as I am. Let’s work together and fix this! Thank you!

  11. It would be informative to hear the “other side”. Was there an application form for Summer Camp where the parent was obliged to indicate the desired mode of transportation for the student? Did the note carried by the child get to the teacher? Should the parent have contacted Wendy face-to-face instead of relying on a phone message system that might not have been accessed?
    .
    There is a simple solution to this problem – require parents to provide their own transportation. This is not “sour grapes” on my part. This is standard for UCF summer activities, after school activities and mid-day kindergarten transportation.

  12. The transportation is a wonderful mode as a lot of these children can’t get to camp. A good % of these kids are struggling and at one time the ratio of help they got was remarkable. There have been a lot of changes and cuts to these camps. It is now showing.

    In the class there is a list how kids should be going home. Car pool, bus. Generally a name tag with the mode of transportation?

    I am sure the communication got lost to the teacher that day and at dismissal. Chaos it’s a new school for a lot of the children and most of the staff.

    I’m pretty sure kids get lost all the time. This is just a time when a vocal parent is letting the community know it happens. Scary.

    Unfortunately why is an administrator in charge of children when they don’t work with them on a daily basis?
    There should be a principal and secretary in charge relaying things to the camp director who in turn gets it to her staff.
    The administration is there to ensure safety but never works with children.

    ** My son got on the shuttle bus home from Valley Forge Middle school and got on the wrong bus. They brought him back to the parking lot where he waited alone in a snow bank for me to get there. Nobody knew where he was for about an hour.
    Not one staff member was in the school to help when I called in a panic. So I get it. He was 11 at the time I realize how scary it is. I am sympathetic to human error but when your child is missing and the district tries to throw it back on us ‘frantic’ main line parents, it’s time to speak up.
    It’s a shame that the board is throwing this back on the administrator in charge when really there is a lack of staff and security and communication.

  13. Seems to me that this unfortunate situation demonstrates that the folks on West Valley Road (Administration) are CLUELESS when it comes to life inside and outside of a school building.
    I have suggested that everyone in Admin, including the Supy be required to spend one month of a school year inside a classroom doing the job of the teacher, (not sitting on their fanny for 30 minutes doing an observation). A three year cycle should be in place where they spend the month in an Elementary school year one, middle school year 2, and high school year three.
    Please do not make an excuse that they are not certified — then they should not be in Admin.
    I doubt this would have occurred if teachers had bus duty.

  14. Karen
    My church does it this way for all parents who drop off and pick up. They come in sign their child in on a numbered line and are given a lanyard with a number on it. They must come back in and sign out and hand back the lanyard.

  15. Karen is our neighbor and friend. Our boys go to VFE and play together here all the time. Karen: you are literally one hell of a Mom and your boys are awesome. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this and I’m glad Christopher is safe. I can imagine the sickening feeling of panic, fear and helplessness all wrapped into a parent’s worst nightmare as the school staff informs you they can’t locate your son.

    We’ve never dealt with Hillside summer reading camp. The only time Adrian attended reading camp at Beaumont was back in 1st grade. It was a smooth ride and a positive experience for us.

    We are fortunate enough to live in Chesterbrook, a traditionally safe area. I raise my sons to be independent, part of which of course is vigilance. But considering all the gut-wrenching stuff we see on the news and the amount of “suspicious van” flyers that come home, I can’t help feeling paranoid. Although the bus stop is a short walk from our house, I try to be there every day or at least meet Adrian half-way. The good thing is that there are always other parents walking their kids so our boys are never alone. Adrian’s going into 4th grade. Guess what? I’m still coming for you, sunny boy – whether you like it or not.

    As far as the bus itself, we’ve been dealing with all kinds of issues – from tardiness to bullying. It doesn’t look like the bus driver’s involvement exceeds the actual driving, and so we have to keep taking every incident up with the teacher and the principal after the fact, at which point it becomes “he said, she said.” The situation has been improving and we haven’t heard any more complaints. I’m assuming the kids are too busy playing on their iPads.

    The bus ride is one of Adrian’s few favorite things, in addition to P.E. and recess. Being on that bus does instill certain social skills, and so the yellow bus experience stays. In order to eliminate extra stress and let him start off his day right, so far we’ve managed to keep the bus ride to back home only. But when his little brother joins him this fall, it’s going to have to be a round trip. Needless to say, we aren’t looking forward to the extra chaos. But since safety is our #1 concern, as long as that bus shows up on time, or around there, and the boys arrive to and from school safely, that’s all that matters.

    During this past academic year, I went through the nightmare of watching all of the other kids roll off the bus except for my son. As the bus pulled out, I felt sick to my stomach, all kinds of horrible scenarios racing through my mind. I thought perhaps, for the first time in 4 years, he’d missed his stop. So I started chasing after the bus, little guy in tow, hoping to see Adrian.

    None of his bus “buddies” could remember whether he boarded the bus, which was helpful. I dialed my husband, screaming into the phone and he had to break in the middle of the meeting and rush home. When I called the school, Mrs. Wills picked up and remained very calm, which I appreciated. Unfortunately, her calm, professional demeanor didn’t help me. I was a shivering wreck trying to find my son. She politely put me on hold for what seemed to be an eternity while she connected with transportation. Adrian wasn’t on the bus. She checked with the gym. Turns out, he was in after school sports. Neither my husband nor myself recall receiving any reminders from the PTO. Of all the “stuff” that comes home daily in paper and electronic form, jamming my recycling bin and inbox alike – this important reminder about start of after school program was the one thing we never received.

    As we stand there deliriously hugging our kids and thanking whoever it is we want to thank for their safe return, we are mindful of how lucky we are to live where we do and to have our kids attend such excellent schools. We also know that because of where we live, T/E has a certain reputation to uphold. We are reminded that, as parents, we have a responsibility to our kids and to each other to bring to light such unforgivable errors as a misplaced child and make sure that appropriate action is taken to prevent this from ever happening again.

  16. I can’t believe this happened and even worse people are trying to make excuses for the school district. Our kids safety needs to be number one priority. There needs to be clear, concise security guidelines for car line and bus transportation. It should be a district wide policy so therefore even teachers who are unfamiliar with the school (as in this camp situation or a substitute teacher during the school year) the policy is black and white. This “security” policy should be signed off on by every teacher in their employment file and every parent. We need to work together to ensure our kids safety.

  17. This situation was horrible, all I can say is that the people in charge of these facilities must have more respect for our children. It is unacceptable to “misplace” a child for even 1 second! I am so thankful that there are women like Karen who are not afraid to shed a light on the cracks in the system.

  18. Ever make a mistake? No? Lucky you. I’ve made mistakes, so have plenty of people.

    Why is this on this website? less then 24 hours after the incident, this dirty laundry has been aired in public.

    The incident is extreem, no doubt. The best result is two fold, one is that the child was unharmed and returned home safe. The other is that the mistake has been identified, the process in which made it occur has been recognized and internally corrected so it can not happen again.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not downplaying the issue or the right for the parents to be angry. But this incident has very little to do with the input of people on this blog or the relationship of hardening measures by the safety consultant.

  19. How has this issue been internally corrected so it cannot happen again? I don’t recall reading a comment that addressed that part of it.

    This mistake has happened before and measures should have been put in place then to make sure this never happened again. The input of the people on this blog has everything to do with this issue and the hardening of safety measures by the consultant.

    The one thing board members and administrators do not like is an angry informed pubic.

    And that is the only reason this issue will be addressed.

    1. If you think the input of comments on this blog are the end-all of sense and sensibility amongst this community, I think you are sadly mistaken.

      The board sets policy, they do not administer who puts someone on a bus every day. What are you asking of the board? To change the policy? What is the policy? Perhaps you should actually get informed before you go to the board, not just angry. Same goes for this blog. Too much angry, not enough informed.

  20. I don’t think the “comments on this blog are the end-all of sense and sensibility”

    As I wrote, I think the input of the people on this blog has everything to do with this issue and the hardening of safety measures though. The board responds to parents who come together over the same cause. There is power in numbers. The individual is powerless and alone and can be isolated quickly.

    “What are you asking of the board?”
    If you read the comments of the parent and grandparent of the lost child, I think you’ll come to the conclusion that they want a “viable workable plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” They wanted to talk someone other than the person responsible for the fact that their child was lost.

    How do people in this community get informed? I would like to get informed. I think people have been trying to do that for a while and have found that trying to get the most basic information is very difficult.

    And I think you’re right, the helplessness and isolation created by the lack of information, generates anger , which motivates parents to turn to alternative modes of communication like this blog, to help them get answers.

    I hope Ms. Pecora got answers. I don’t think she would have without this blog. I hope that doesn’t make you angry.

    1. So if you make a mistake at your job, you want someone to go directly over your head rather then to you? Not give you the chance to right the wrong or fix the problem? Just go right over your head to your superior?

  21. I have made mistakes. People have gone over my head. Problems were resolved and systems operated more efficiently. Isn’t that the idea? I’ll take input from anyone who can help me do my job better. The end result always overshadowed any momentary uncomfortable feeling from having made the mistake.

    I’m more concerned about the safety and security of a 6 year old child. You seem to be more concerned about the feelings of an administrator who I’m sure had no intention of allowing a 6 year old child on a bus when he was supposed to be in a car pool line.

    Let the focus be on safety and security for the children, not whether or not someone goes over someones head. Let’s move forward by formulating a plan and talking about that instead of staying stuck on something that does nothing to make things better.

    Ms. Pecora said she wants safety measures in place for this district wide camp. The grandmother said she will help come up with the plan.

    The district has probably put measures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. And that’s what matters.

  22. To Ms. Benson’s point, I find it hard to believe there is no way to communicate with bus drivers via cell phone or dispatch. Yes, this was a terrible mistake and should have never happened. But the fear Ms. Pecora felt could have been lessened had she been able to confirm her son was on a bus right away.

    As a mother to three young children I can’t even imagine having to go through what she and her family went through that day. I hope that all involved have learned a lesson and that this never happens again in our district… and all districts for that matter.

    I’m sure the district is having a tough time assigning blame in this situation, but I do think that acknowledging the mistake and being forthcoming with the public on what measures are being taken to assure it does not happen again will go a long way with teachers, parents and children.

  23. TE Mom,

    I can assure you the district is not having a tough time assigning blame. If they tried to blame anyone, it would have been the child for not standing up to the teacher/administrator when they told him to get on the bus.

    “Why would he get on the bus, didn’t you tell him you would pick him up in the car pool line?” I don’t know that happened but wouldn’t be surprised.

    The administrators know EXACTLY what happened and they are in circle the wagon, protect our own mode.

    They will never acknowledge the mistake, especially publicly. The only way you will know if any of of this got through is if you see a change in procedure.

    Since an issue was made, I’m going to guess measures have been put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Unless you’re a friend or neighbor of Ms. Pecora, or unless she or her mother post again, or unless you see a change in procedure at the camp, you will never know.

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