Anyone who's listening, I will tell you a story. It's a true story, and it happened in October of 2009. Thankfully, it had a happy ending.
My oldest daughter used to be quite the avid cross country buff when she was thirteen years old. She was good at it, too. But one day, while she was at practice, and I was at home, just assuming that all was well, her coach drove past my house, stopping to talk to my eight year old son. Mr. Coach wanted to know if Mr. Eight Year Old had seen his older sister. Mr. Eight Year Old had not. No one had seen my daughter in over two hours. She was lost. Why was she lost? Because her coach had dropped her off by the side of a highway, four miles south of the town we live in, by herself, and just left her. It was part of cross country practice. No supervision. If she had been stung by a bee, had tripped and hurt herself, or had some other medical emergency, no one would have been there to help her. (at this juncture, you should know that I offered to volunteer to help with cross country, but since I do not attend a Christian church, my offer was rejected. The school staff thought it better to take chances with a child's safety in the way I just described) When my daughter realized that she did not know her way back, she started to wander on a side road, hoping it would bring her to a house, or another person. This area has a lot of commercial farms, and there were no houses or places my daughter could go to for help.
Back to my eight year old son.......Twenty minutes went by. While he did not realize the signifigance of his conversation with Mr. Cross County Coach, (also Mr. Guidance Counselor) he did realize that no one knew where his sister was, and it was getting later and later, and no one was looking for her. So he told me about it. I looked all over town, called all her friends, searched the school (why was the school left unlocked after everyone had gone home?) and finally started home to call the police, when a couple of senior boys drove up with my crying daughter in their car. It was still within a few minutes of when I found out she was missing, but this cross country coach had known all afternoon, and had not called the police, or spoken to me. Why? I guess whatever he cared about, it WASN'T my daughter. Well.........I actually DO care about my daughter. Nowhere else have I met a teacher that did NOT care, at least a little, about the children he teaches, but I think that is what the problem is with Mr. Cross Country Coach/ Guidance Counselor.
Suppose it was not young men from her school who found her, but a dangerous person? I have been told time and time again by the people who live in this small Kansas town that "those things don't happen here", and "there ARE no dangerous people here", but there was a sex offender whose address was within half a mile of where my daughter was abandoned. The police were quick to point that out, but the principal only argued his harmlessness as a sex offender with them and the school board is not worried about the incident.
My children no longer participate in cross country at their school. It isn't safe.