Stranger Danger - protect your child
January 15, 2010
- Parents should ensure children do not walk to and from school unsupervised
- Recent abductions and attempts highlight need to teach children to be aware of strangers
- Children should use buddy system
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The Muscogee County School District and Columbus Police are urging parents to be cautious and teach their children about "Stranger Danger."
According to a Directorate of Emergency Services memo, the warning was prompted by an investigation into the attempted abduction of a Lonnie Jackson Academy student Friday walking near Goodwin and Wright Drive off Buena Vista Road in Columbus.
"Stranger Danger" is the catchphrase associated with teaching children the risks they may face from people they don\'t know.
"Not every person out there is bad, but kids should be aware that there are some bad people," said COL(R) Kevin Clarke, chief of police.
Clarke said a child should report to a parent, school official or police officer if he or she is approached by a stranger, sees a suspicious person taking pictures of them or notices someone parked in a strange vehicle in their neighborhood. Parents are also encouraged to ensure their children don't walk to and from school unsupervised.
"In the schools on post, we have DARE police officers teaching classes and we have guards and police at street crossing locations during the peak periods before and after school," Clarke said. "If a child sees something suspicious, he or she can always approach a police officer."
The most important thing parents should teach their children about safety is to travel in buddy teams, Clarke said.
"We tell Soldiers to use the buddy system so the same rule should apply to a young kid walking home from school," Clarke said.
Many parents warn their kids to 'not talk to strangers.' In Adventures with Scruff, at www.mcgruff.org, kids can learn how to avoid dangerous situations and react if a stranger is near.
Additional child safety education resources are available at www.mychildsafety.net.
Possible link in Jan. 6 abduction
A 20-year-old man arrested Thursday and accused of kidnapping a woman and her grandson has also been linked to the Jan. 6 abduction and sexual assault of a child walking to East Columbus Magnet Academy, according to the Columbus Police Department.
A memorandum was sent to all Muscogee County school administrators Thursday. Marcus Louis Wade faces three counts of child molestation, one count of aggravated child molestation, one count of aggravated sodomy, three counts of kidnapping, two counts each of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count each of the following: aggravated assault, hijacking a motor vehicle and attempted armed robbery.
Things your child should know:
* Know your name, address and phone number.
* Use the buddy system.
* Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle.
* Do not accept candy or any other items from a stranger.
* If you are being followed, seek help immediately.
* If a stranger approaches you, you do not have to speak to him or her.
* If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away or dragging you into his or her car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you.