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Schools notifying parents about children's absence

ESCAMBIA COUNTY - When a child misses a day of school typically the school notifies the parent to tell them their child wasn't there that day.  This is the policy in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa County, but a group of parents in Escambia County say that is not happening and they're concerned about the safety of their young children.

Monique Hrabak has two boys in Elementary School.  She's worried a lapse in the Escambia County School system opens doors for something terrible to happen if a child goes missing.

"I've never received a phone call from anybody stating that my son has been excused from absence, is absent or anything about him not showing up for school" said Monique Hrabak, concerned parent.

The Escambia County School District has a school messenger system that makes robocalls to parents to tell them about school events, school closures it's also supposed to call parents if their child missed a day at school.

"We get robocalls at 6pm for school fundraising and don't forget this fundraising night, never once about my child's absence" said Hrabak.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says the messenger system regularly calls parents of middle and high school students if their child is absent because of possible truancy.
When Channel 3 News brought concerns of worried parents to his attention he discovered a handful of elementary schools were not following district policy.

"We've been somewhat more sporadic at elementary, that all changes today now that we've become aware" said Malcolm Thomas, Escambia County Superintendent.

Thursday afternoon, Thomas sent out a district wide memo reminding all schools of the policy to notify parents of absent students.  This is welcomed news to concerned parents.

"I hope that all of the schools follow through with it, and I hope that he takes the time to make sure that all of the schools are following through with it" said Jessica Bott, Concerned Parent.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says all schools will be calling parents if their child is absent starting Friday.