I’ve posted a couple of times about problems we have had with students coming in and checking out. Tonight was the first run of a new system intended to limit that and also inform parents when it occurs. I spoke with a follow youth minister and asked for input online. I even talked to some of my students. The solution isn’t perfect but we are moving the right direction. My YP friend has a better budget than I do (read he has a budget) so he is working on buying a system that will digitally sign his students in with IDs. I would love to just have the software but $500 isn’t happening. I’m working on setting up a SQL local host server and either building a sign in system or finding an open source version that can be modified to that end.
For now, though, I have started a paper where they write what time they arrived, their name, a cell number if they got it, their parent’s name, and a number they can be reached at. To make sure we get everyone we are marking their hands, so if someone is marked we know they have signed it and if not they haven’t. Simple. Of course there is a learning curve to this all. I think I want to take the pages from tonight and put those names on so it will go faster. I also want to get a stamp made instead of the ghetto mark we are doing now. Tonight I put a purple x with a washable marker.
We did have a few students head out early. Most of them checked with me before heading out and I knew where they were heading and why. I had one student who has been coming and leaving with his friends almost every service for a while skip out. I had him sign in and he admitted he was going to leave. I told him to sign in if he as on the property. I also asked if his mom thought he was there. He said yes, but claimed she knew he was leaving. When he left without checking out I had his mom get a call. I was busy so I don’t know exactly what happened but I did talk to her later. The boy knew the rule was that if he left he was gone for the evening. I explained it to him the previous week and this week but after service he came back. I intercepted him and explained that he was gone but he came in anyways. (yes Candy I say anyways all the time, I speak exactly like I write) A couple students were asking me various things so I didn’t get to him immediately. When I did I tried to patiently explain not only what the rules were, but also why we have the rules. He kept insisting that I never told him, when I know I’ve told him many times. I also told him his mother was told. He insisted that she knew he left and not to call her again because “it’s not cool.” I explained that I would call her until she told me that she knew he was leaving and arranged to pick him up elsewhere.
Two friends came back with him. The girl was wearing a jacket with a pentagram that had a goat’s head in it pinned on. OK, so I’m not one to judge a book by it’s cover, but at some point you got to think “satanist?” Seriously it was an upside down pentagram with a freakin’ goat head. I told the friends they didn’t have to leave but the boy who left did (not to be confused with the boy who lived, Harry can stay). They all left though, but the boy came back again and I heard him asking if I had left because he apparently didn’t see me. His other friends had disappeared. I went over but he just glared at me. I figured his mom was about to pick him up so I waited right there and a few minutes later his mom pulled up. When she did I walked over to talk to her. I explained the rules and told her that if he was there he would have a mark on his hand. I also explained she would get a call. She told me she thought he was there, which annoyed me a bit because I’ve called in the past to let her know he walked off. Either way she knows and will be called every time now.
The other advantage is I got an exact count on students because they signed in.