Disappearance of a school student in Gothenburg

Three teachers knew nine-year-old was missing

Published torsdag 15 november 2012 kl 09:06
Det var många, både frivilliga, poliser och Missing people, som letade efter den försvunna flickan. Foto: Kristian Lönner/Sveriges Radio
Volunteers and police officers search for the missing girl in Gothenburg. Photo: Kristian Lönner/Sveriges Radio

There was no system in place to note pupil absences at Skårsskolan, the Gothenburg school that the nine-year-old-girl who went missing for 19 hours attends.

An investigation by the district council found that three teachers at the school knew that the girl was missing, but never acted to check where she was. One thought she was at the dentist, while the two others thought someone else had called to check with her parents.

Instead, it was the girl’s father who realized she was missing when she did not come home in the afternoon. By that time she had been gone for eight hours.

Certain routines had been agreed upon by the school about how to register children as absent, but there were no written rules in place. At the meeting on Wednesday evening, many parents and staff turned up. Some parents were surprised that there were no confirmed routines for registering absent students.

"If my child is missing I would not want the school to be looking for me, but for my child," said Joakim Bolteus, a parent at the school who attended the meeting.

Gun Jarkvist, the middle school principal, said the school has not updated the orally agreed rules, or written those rules down, which will now be done. Teachers will now check attendance at every lesson.

The disappearance of the nine-year-old girl last week led many schools around the city of Gothenburg to look more closely at how they check attendance. Newspaper Göteborgs-Posten found that some schools had parents call in their children during the day, while some report illnesses within twenty minutes of school starting.

Education Minister Jan Björklund told Swedish Radio that schools should "obviously" contact parents straight away if children are missing, and said he does not rule out strengthening Sweden's school law on the matter after the Schools Inspectorate finishes its investigation.

The 24-year-old man who confessed to taking away the nine-year-old girl is being held on probably cause of unlawful deprivation of liberty. The girl was found after the organization Missing People drafted hundreds of volunteers for a search.

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