Running Away

It wasn’t the first time that the 16-year-old stepson disappeared on us on a weekend.  This time, though, he didn’t come home Sunday as was customary.  So the father called the ex-wife and found out he wasn’t there.  They then called the cousins in New Jersey and discovered that he wasn’t there either.  So out of a sense of desperation, the Dad called the supposed girlfriend and we found out he wasn’t there either.  He had spent at least 3 weekends there, purportedly with the knowledge and consent of the girl’s parent/s, but the girl told the Dad he wasn’t there either (which we were able to independently confirm later.)
So by Monday noon — with no sign of him — Alan reported the 16-year-old missing by calling the Runaway Hotline who then referred him to the local police.  New York’s finest were knocking at our door shortly.  After getting the initial details from Alan, they requested permission from Alan to inspect the house as part of protocol.  It was a precaution against parents who have harmed their children and later reported them missing to cover their tracks.  A case file was opened and we got calls all day from the police requesting for more information.A breakthrough came in the afternoon and we discovered the boy was with a friend in the city.  After both father and mother spoke to the boy, he agreed to come home.  Arriving at his Mom’s house in the city, though, at first he wanted to stay there first and sleep over, but Alan needed him back in our home to physically present him to the police.  The detective Alan informed about our finding the boy at last had told Alan that they cannot close the case based on a phonecall.  Alan was instructed to call when the 16-year-old was physically here and a policecar would drive over.  And come they did, dispensing their advice and telling the boy he should’ve known better than to disappear like that.  

I really don’t know if that had any effect except to prove the pooint that his father wasn’t kidding when he told him over the phone that the police were now involved.  Even the truancy office of the school he is supposed to be attending informed Alan Monday morning that the boy has not been in school all of October.  The school is just observing procedure.  Compulsory education in New York is only up to age 17, after which the school can discharge a student for exceeding 20 absences during the schoolyear.  The catch is that they cannot do it until the end of the term after the kid turns 17, and the stepson turns 17 in April, and the school term isn’t ending until June.

This early, he has already announced to us all he doesn’t want to go to school anymore.  I gues he believes he can now face the world armed with the knowledge he has gained up to middle school.  (Let’s not count his three years trying to master being a freshman in his current school because he was hardly there.)  No thanks to the suggestion and active endorsement of my ex-sister-in-law (who has since disowned our side of the family, her adoptive mother included), he believes he can make do with taking the GED (General Education Development) Test.. but that’s another blog post altogether.

It’s just comforting to know that New York’s finest can be counted on to do even such trivial things like talking some sense into a rebellious teenager’s head.  If we were in Manila, we would’ve been left to our own devices — and we would’ve had to do the searching ourselves.  Well, we sort of did, but the policemen were very helpful in terms of knocking some sense into that kid’s head.