MAILBAG: The One Thing Every Playgroup Morah MUST Do

A terrible tragedy took place recently in Monsey – one that most people are unaware of. While I don’t want to discuss the specific details of that terrible incident, it is imperative that everyone be aware of the incredible dangers, how it could happen to anyone, and most importantly, how it can easily be avoided.

What essentially happened is that a parent forgot their child in their vehicle and only realized the youngster was in the back seat when they got out of work. The story ended in tragedy.

While it’s easy to point fingers at the parents, this can unfortunately happen to anyone. A slight change in schedule or routine is all that’s needed for something so terrible to occur. My question lies not with the parent, but with the child’s playgroup morah.

The child wasn’t dropped off that morning. The morah didn’t say anything – not a call, not a text, nothing. The child was only found hours later, still in the car, lifeless.

While many morahs make sure to contact the parents when a child doesn’t show up one day – I know my children’s morahs do – it has to be made standard. It can’t be a choice. When you sign up to send your child to a morah, it should be written in a contract that they will contact the parents if a child doesn’t show up. At the very least, there should be a verbally made understanding between parents and morahs that this will happen.

As difficult as it is comprehending leaving a child in a hot car and we all think it could never be us, the facts are otherwise. Everyone thinks it can’t be them to make that mistake, but such tragedies still happen.

Morahs, somewhat differently, know when a child is there or not. And that’s a big responsibility.

Contacting parents if a child doesn’t show up is something that every single morah must implement in their playgroups. It can – and probably will – literally save lives.

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  1. Sure blame the morahs.
    Facts are there are some parents who come late very often and just get plain annoyed when a morah calls them every time they’re running around trying to get their kids ready.

    • Anyone here who is focused on blame is thinking with a real lack of maturity. Yes it may not be the immediate responsibility of the morah but we’re talking about our childrens live on the line over here we should implimemt everything we can to save lives.

    • Ppl will get annoyed until Chas vesholom something happens to them. Then nothing is anoying anymore and they would have wished that the morah called them. EVEN if they come late.

  2. What a ridiculous comment. A) no one is “blaming” anyone. It has not been the standard procedure until now. So no one is blaming anyone. B) Facts are, all parents will gladly put up with this ‘annoyance’ (hard to believe this life-saving measure could be called that) to save a life.

  3. What an outrageous piece. It is the parents responsibility to ensure the safety of their child until he or she arrives in gan and then from the time the child leaves. The morah has no responsibility whatsoever when the child is not in her care. Berwl is exactly right. If their child’s life is not important enough for the parent to care enough about it, don’t try and shift the responsibility. A better suggestion is for every parent who takes their child to gan to put a daily alarm in their phone for say 10 minutes after the child is usually dropped off “IMPORTANT – have I dropped off sheifele?”, that repeats every 5 minutes until it is turned off.

    • Of course it is responsibility of the parents to take care of their child. Maybe the piece was written with a bit of the wrong tone and appears to point fingers, however, the idea mentioned is valid. The writer is simply suggesting that this can be an effective way to avoid such a terrible tragedy from happening. Yes, Chaim, your idea of setting an alarm is just as valid a suggestion. Both of them can help prevent such a thing from happening again.

  4. As a playgroup morah I have a very strong policy that is if a parent is going to be late or not coming then they have to call text or pm me. I already know the time when each child comes. I have a good morning chart with name and fathers and mothers name. I put there “person” from the good night chat to the good morning chart when he or she comes to school.
    I will call and text the parent weather the child is coming or not. On only 2 instances did I have to call the emergency contacts to contact the parents to see if their child was coming.
    It is very important! It is not fear to point fingers at either the parent or teacher. It’s just lesson to all to ck your cars even if you think you dropped off your child. Always check your cars.
    I had once that I told my child to stay home with her father while I went shopping. The child wanted to come so badly that she hid in the van. Luckily I cked the car before I left to the store. It’s just so important to do so.
    Hashem should give the mourning family Nechuma!

  5. As a Playgroup morah myself and a mommy with small children, I hear both sides. Someone once suggested leaving your left shoe in back seat of car if your child is there. I myself do this.

  6. Why would a playgroup take on that responsibility and that liability? So the parent signs a contract that they’ll be notified if their kid doesn’t show up right What happens when the Play group can’t reach the parent or it was a crazy hectic day that morning and they didn’t have time to reach out to the parent next thing you know the parents taking the playgroup to court and suing them.. No one in the right mind would set up a program were there obligated to contact the parent. Furthermore e
    Most new car out there has a feature back seat reminder that every time you open your door it dings and reminds you to check the backseat..

  7. Im a Morah! I agree that morah should ask parents if kid is not dropped off. But no I don’t agree that it’s the morahs responsibility. It’s the parents responsibility to tell the morah that kid is not coming. I told the parents beginning of year if a kid is not coming or coming late they should text me. So I know that if a kid randomly doesn’t show up I ask the mother! But alot of times they forget. But Chas vshalom if something happens don’t blame it on the teacher! It’s the teachers responsibility ONLY from when child is dropped off!


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