here but for the grace of God go we" will always be the response of schools and education authorities when reports emerge of pupils going missing.
Happily, the most recent case involving Western Isles youngster Misbah Rana has had a positive outcome - at least, it appears, for her (page 3). The more tragic cases of murdered youngsters Rory Blackhall, in Livingston, and Danielle Reid, in Inverness, triggered considerable soul-searching among authorities about how they could possibly prevent such incidents. West Lothian, Rory Blackhall's education authority, should be congratulated in coming up with a response which took a proportionate rather than a knee-jerk form. Similarly, Highland Council's experience led to the development of a national tracking service. But it can never be repeated too often that no system can offer a 100 per cent guarantee of safety for children. Alas, the system works only in retrospect.