I leave for work each day around 7:15. It’s still dark at that time, but I see kids walking to school. Today there were 2 little girls, probably 9 or 10 years old, walking on snow-covered sidewalks – alone. And this only a few days after an 11-year old was almost grabbed on the college campus.
Encouraging children to walk to school is a simple way to promote exercise, help children arrive at school energized and ready to learn, ad a way to reduce pollution and congestion. However, we sometimes forget there are bad people in our wonderful community.
If you can’t walk with your children to school, try to find someone who can – perhaps a high school student you know and trust, another family in your neighborhood, another school employee who lives nearby. There are many adults out walking in the morning, some of whom might be willing to change their route in order to accompany young students.
Whether your kids walk to school or ride, there are still hidden dangers for our kids, so have “the talk” frequently about not talking to strangers, even those claiming to have lost pets. In addition to those warnings, here are some other things to tell them:
•Run •Scream like crazy •Never leave home without telling an adult •Know safe neighbors •Know your own phone number and address •Say “no” to any invitations for rides or claims that “your parents sent me to pick you up.”
One of the national news programs tested a bunch of little kids to see how well they followed their parents’ instructions about talking to or riding with strangers. The results weren’t good. Most of them got into the car or accompanied them to look for the lost puppy. Children are trusting and loving and kind. And predators know this.
I followed those 2 little girls to be sure they arrived safely. But I could just as easily have been one of the bad guys. Keep our children safe!