The announcement below from a principal to her school community last week shows the importance of the kinds of skills that Kidpower teaches including Stay Aware, Think First, Move Away, and Get Help.
The fact that the first girl was almost tricked into going to this man’s car is an urgent reminder that all kids need practice and reinforcement of these skills. Thank goodness her friend realized that what this man was asking them to do was not safe!
Yesterday at 3:00 pm two 6th grade girls were waiting to be picked up [at the corner next to the school.]
A man approached them saying that his keys had fallen into his car and his hand was too big to retrieve them. He pointed to the car, which had the door open and was a couple of cars up the street.
One girl started to go help him but her friend realized the potential danger and convinced her that they should run [back into the school] for help. The mom arrived almost immediately but the man was no longer there.
A kidnapping can happen so quickly, and being approached by a friendly person asking for help in a familiar place can be confusing for people of any age.I am so thankful these girls are safe!
I appreciate the principal’s prompt actions in calling the police, notifying parents and teachers, sending out the description of the man and his car, reminding parents to have their children wait at the front of the school, and sharing this information with other schools in the area.
In addition to warning young people about what to watch out for, we are recommending that these parents and teachers use this situation to discuss, review, and practice safety skills with children and teens
Just telling kids “don’t go with strangers” is often not enough to prepare them for tricks that a potential abductor might use to get them to lower their guard.
We have found that raising awareness without having a concrete safety plan and practicing skills is not enough to prepare kids to be safe on their own – and risks creating anxiety without necessarily making them safer. Positive Practice prepares young people to recognize potential safety problems and to protect themselves from danger in a way that increases competence and reduces anxiety.
We encourage readers to download and use the checklist from our article Protect Your Child From Abduction: FREE Safety Checklist to Prepare Kids to Go Without Adult Protection to TALK with your kids, WALK with your kids, and PRACTICE with your kids. We also encourage you to share this with others by making print copies of the PDF or by emailing it as an attachment.
Not sure HOW to practice? Kidpower provides an extensive personal safety curriculum for all ages and abilities including articles and videos in our free online Library, easy-to-use and interesting books such as our Safety Comics in our Bookstore, training for teachers and parents on how to teach safety skills to young people, and workshops for students