As pedestrians out in our community, we are helping keep our neighbourhoods safe. Teachers and school liaison police officers work in partnership to teach personal safety strategies to children at school. In addition to standard classroom instruction, children and families might wish to discuss the following points together.
Strategies that can help keep children safe on their trip to school include:
Educate parents during a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) Council Meeting.
What can my child do to avoid being approached by a stranger? Your child should:
- Walk with friends.
- Take the safe route agreed on by their family from home to school, or to a friend’s house, community centre, etc. Always take that route – do not take short cuts off the agreed route.
- Be aware of appropriate safe places on your route; for instance friend’s homes, community centres, local shops or businesses you know. For teenagers and older children who might walk, bike or take the bus at night: learn to identify businesses on your journey that are open late at night. These might include convenience stores, fitness centres, restaurants, etc.
- Tell someone where you are going, on what route, and when they’ll be back.
- Choose a family password. Never go with an adult unless they know this word. Change this password occasionally, perhaps annually on a special family occasion or anniversary.
- Phone home when leaving friends, school, etc. and say when you’ll be back. Phone home if you are delayed, or if your plans change. Let your family know the route you plan to take.
- Wear their backpack loosely so they can let it go should someone use it to grab them.
- Keep their ears open, and not wear headphones with the music playing so loud they can’t hear people approaching from behind or traffic.
- Be wary and not offer to assist strangers, teenagers included. An example would be where they are asked to help search for a missing puppy or kitten. Don’t. If someone really seems to be in distress, a child can go to the nearest adult they trust and ask them to help. (Parent’s friends, or their own parents or caregiver would be examples of the adults that should be approached for help.)
- Yell loudly and run for help to home, to a friend’s home or open business, if they see another child in trouble.
- Yell loudly and run to the closest place where there will be other people around if they are approached by a stranger.
- Trust their instincts and feelings. If they don’t feel safe, leave. They should call parents, or other trusted adult for help if they don’t feel good about a situation. Report suspicious persons or vehicles in their neighbourhood. Note the license plate and colour of the vehicle if they can.
- NOT carry a weapon, as it could be used against them
What do I do if my child has been approached by a stranger?
- Call the Police. The Police will compare the description with others in their files. Note the case file number; you may need to refer to it again if there are any further developments.
- Notify your school administrator. Your school will alert the community of the incident, including a description of the person and when relevant, the vehicle involved. The school district and the police will determine whether or not a district-wide alert should be distributed.
Based on information first made available through the Way to Go! School Program.