Missing Indiana Student Tracked Through Parent Notification System


Rossville Consolidated School District in Indiana discovered its new school-to-home communications system, SchoolReach from Groupcast, really does live up to its name after the parental notification system recently helped locate a high school student who had been missing for more than a week.

"We have always believed we are allies with our parents in the education process of their children, but what the SchoolReach system so eloquently proved is that we have a true connection with parents and our community at large," said Jim Hanna, superintendent of the district.

RCSD began using the SchoolReach system in December 2008 after switching from another vendor, which it didn't name. SchoolReach is a phone and text message notification service.

In the days leading up to the 16-year-old student's reunion with his family, the town's law enforcement marshal, Travis Harris, had searched for the teenager. The local media had been notified, flyers had been posted throughout the small rural business community, and attempts were made to track the student's cell phone.

After seeing one of the flyers, Hanna contacted the marshal and asked if it would help to put a message out to the community via SchoolReach to see if the student had been spotted. Harris agreed, so they contacted the family to secure their approval. Within minutes of recording and sending the personal message, the family's telephone began to ring with tips on sightings of the young man. Shortly after that, the marshal was able to locate the boy and bring him home.

"I just assumed everyone knew about this missing child," said Harris. "I am so thankful for this incredible resource and its ability to alert our community to this family' plight. We are just so relieved with the happy ending it provided."

The Web-based service delivers announcements, including those related to attendance, community outreach, emergency or crisis management, and weather-related schedule changes, to landlines and cell phones. SchoolReach is in use by Piggott School District in Arkansas, Somonauk Community Unit School District #432 in Illinois, and Houston R-I School District in Missouri, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.