This is a big local story today - Student Leaves Campus - and I have to say that it terrifies me. There are so many thing wrong iwth this story I am not even sure where to begin! I will start by saying what no one else has said. I don't think the school is really to blame here. I know- you must be shocked, right? You automatically want to blame the school because the idea that a kid could sneak off of campus is a little farfetched, right? Not really. According to the article the kid skedaddled off campus just after the early bell. This particular school has 2 entrances and both are on major roads. One for the buses and one for car riders. According to information here our little Houdini began his trek via the bus gate on the back end of the campus. He then walked over a mile to another intersection- He walked past a Walgreen's, 2 grocery stores, a hospital, several gas stations, and some fast food places. He had quite the adventure. How exciting for him. Who knows what spurred his journey..Maybe he is ADD. Maybe he is a bad ass. Maybe he was bored (since public schools are so boring, hey- I get that one brother!) Who knows? That doesn't really matter- We live in a fairly safe town and honestly I think the walk was kind of cool and likely boosted his confidence. However, the walk DID NOT boost his common sense. At the end of this little sojourn a "concerned" adult stopped to see what this kid was doing roaming the roads. The kid had no qualms about talking to this stranger and asking for a lift to a shopping center several miles away. REALLY?? OK. I know as a kid you have poor judgement..that's the way you're made but you just asked a complete stranger for a lift?? Really?? Really? Has NO ONE ever spoken to this kid about Stranger Danger?? Not to mention - Dude! As an adult that sees a young child wandering around town alone early in the morning you were right to stop and check the situation out but then you lost me..When he told you school got out early..You believed that?? It was prior to 9am!! Seriously? Get a clue. It's called a lie..kids love to do that. If it fits their needs they lie.. It's normal. Then instead of calling authorities you offer/agree to drive the kid to a sporting goods store miles away?? Yah- that's totally normal..not creepy at all. Thank God someone else DID have the good sense to follow you. Had she not alerted the authorities who knows what could have happened!
Naomi and I have been discussing Stranger Danger since was old enough to identify body parts. I keep it age appropriate and she has gradually learned that she is the boss of her when it comes to situations like that. Just Tuesday night (before this even happened!) we did some role playing for "just in case" situations. I have taught her that her two best tools for fighting bad situation are her thumbs and foul language. Yes, I said foul language. Kent I are have taught her that if anyone ever tries to grab her, at the park, in a store, anywhere, that she is to shove her thumbs into any and every facial/cranial orifice and to scream "You are not my parent, motherf---ker!!" She gets quite a kick out of this and at first refused to say it in role playing but I told her she had to say it at least once so she would be comfortable saying out loud...She wasn't comfortable saying it but we made our point. Because of my job there are a lot of people that know her name and personal info about me..it's the nature of radio. We have had all the discussions about the ruses people use to get a child's trust and let me tell you- I pity any person that tries to snatch her up. She has been taught how to react verbally and physically and that fool will be catching hell in a big way.
I don't understand why, but a large portion of folks feel that the abduction/stranger danger conversation is a "scary" one to have with your kids. You can't let that keep you from having it. It is IMPERATIVE you teach your kids that they are to NEVER go with a stranger (or anyone that makes them uncomfortable- we have that lesson as well). Role play with them. Teach them about the lines Pedos use to get a kids attention. Candy in my van, free ice cream, lost puppies, free puppies, I know your parents, etc- These are important lessons. They could save your child's livfe or at the very least their innocence. Teach them how to physically protect themsleves. Teach them tender spots, easy targets, how to react, what to say. Now after all that paranoia let me say that I am NOT a helicopter parent- and that is exactly why I teach my daughter these things. So I know that when I am leting her exercise her independence I knwo she will keep herself safe. I do it so her confidence is bolstered.
You can find Ali online @ ksmb.com , download our app, or if you are in Acadiana tune in to 94.5 KSMB FM on your radio dial Monday thru Saturday 6am-10am & some Saturdays 2-6p
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