LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Jessica Ridgeway’s disappearance had CBS4 wondering about school procedures when children don’t show up for class and found one school is already making changes because of the case.
An email has been sent to parents at Peiffer Elementary in Littleton. It talks about how the situation with Ridgeway elevates the importance of the attendance procedures at school.
The Jefferson County School District will also take a look at improving their current system.
“This is really a parent’s worst nightmare,” Jessica’s mother Sarah Ridgeway said.
It’s the kind of nightmare that has parents like Erin Hegarty asking important safety questions.
“What more we can do to protect our kids?” she said.
Police say there was a delay before they were notified Jessica Ridgeway was missing at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The school called her mother to say she was absent. Sarah Ridgeway says her cellphone was downstairs and she was sleeping after working a nightshift and didn’t get the message until the afternoon.
After searching for her daughter, Sarah Ridgeway called police at 4:15 p.m.
“This is one of those incidents that makes you go back and look,” Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson said.
Stevenson says their attendance procedure is to call the most critical number that a parent assigns. Jessica’s family had multiple numbers listed, but her mother was that one phone call.
“The police tell us there are 100 per year, incidents like this across the country,” Stevenson said. “We have to take that into consideration … and really examine … and what do you do with that information? How are we thoughtful about it, and how do we make sure we’re making the right decisions for our future.”
Peiffer Elementary, a Jefferson County school, sent the email to its parents saying, “If we are unable to personally reach someone at the primary contact, we will call the secondary contact number. We will make every effort to speak with someone personally in your contact list. This elevates the importance of keeping your contact information current and accurate.”
Stevenson says right now they are focused on finding Jessica and the police investigation and soon will review their attendance procedure.
Officials say guardians should choose phone numbers and people who are the best contact — the person who will be able to answer the phone.