Runaway student becomes lost
March 2005. Year 2 of my campaign to reduce the number of students who elope from the school, or at least keep them safer when they do leave. It’s been a slow slog through the mud of tradition and inertia. For about 15 years students had been leaving the The Family Foundation School. More than 75% are back in 8 hours or less. People viewed running away as part of the experience, part of the process for the 40-60 students every year who leave. Most don’t have a plan, they get mad and impulsively run off campus.
Over the years, the few students who had got into serious trouble, didn’t get into trouble near the school. It found them after they’d made it back to the cities and suburbs they called home. I could get people to admit that there was a chance of injury in the woods that surrounded our campus, but I guess people felt the chance was slight enough.
I don’t want you to get the idea that we did nothing when a student took off. We had adequate procedures. We called the state, sent cars patrolling the roads and villages in our area. And, by year 2 we were also routinely following the higher risk students into the woods. Several staff were doing just that when I left the campus at 4:30 PM on my way to take my practical exam at the Hancock .