Aloveen came to us from the Youth Center. The youth center is a government agency that houses young people who have been referred by their families or the courts. Students from the youth center are delivered to school by a van from the center and the van returns in the afternoon to pick them up. You may remember that last year Tyrese was a resident of the Youth Center when he first came to us.
Aloveen was the first girl to come to our school this year, shortly after school began. We knew ahead of time that she had been abused and we were worried that there might be some acting out in class but she was a good participant from the very beginning and was especially attentive and participatory during the afternoons that we had the AVP workshop.
Monday of this week she was not at school. Monday afternoon the Youth Center called and said that Aloveen had come to school on Friday and had not been there when the bus returned to pick her up on Friday evening. They wanted to know what we did to cause this situation.
Here’s the thing. We didn’t have school on Friday. The practice in Belize is to have the students write a note in their recitation book. The teacher signs the note and the student shows it to their parent or guardian so everyone knows that school is not in session. It is also practice to not give out such a note until the day before the event because there are attendance issues if the students know very far ahead of time.
We had given out such a note on Thursday of last week, because School Board Meeting was on Friday. What we have figured out since is that Aloveen never showed the note to her supervisor at the Youth Center. The van brought her to school on Friday. We were not there when she arrived but the van driver left her off anyway. I can imagine that conversation,.
“Are you sure it’s ok?”
“Oh yes, they will be here soon.”
“Well, OK, I’ll pick you up at 4, alright?”
On Tuesday, Ms Candi had a little conversation with the other girls. Their comment was that Aloveen had planned it but that they didn’t think she would really go through with it.
I guess she did plan it, she planned it really well, because no one seems to know where she is now. If she ever returns we will take her back, but it’s likely we may never see her again. I pray that she is ok.
Sometimes hindsight is 20-20. From now on we will make a quick phone call to the youth center when we do not have school. Pretty smart huh?