Bill To Protect Children Advances; Senate Panel Gives Thumbs Up to ‘Tabitha’s Law’
Legislation which would alert parents, school officials and authorities instantly when students may be missing, lost or abducted has advanced in Trenton. “Tabitha’s Law” cleared the Senate Education Committee today.
The measure requires parents to notify school administrators whenever a child will be absent from school and requires administrators to contact parents whenever a child is absent without the parents having provided prior notice.
“The measure assures adults take immediate, personal responsibility for the children they must protect and care for,” said bill sponsor Senator Kevin O’Toole. “Just a few seconds of accountability can be enough to save lives and solve abductions.”
Tabitha’s Law is named after a 13-year-old missing Nashville girl who was absent from school in 2003. Parents and law enforcement didn’t know she was missing because school officials didn’t alert anyone. As a result, authorities say they lost an entire first day, which is critical to a search effort.
“The first few hours of child abductions are the most vital to the investigatory and recovery process,” said O’Toole. “In Tabitha’s name, New Jersey law enforcement officers will be notified the instant that care takers recognize a warning sign.”