Letter home to parents about suspicious manPosted: Updated:
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE
February 13, 2008
Schools in our area are getting disturbing reports of a white male driving a white pick-up truck slowly while following girls to/from school. These encounters have all been reported to the police, who are continuing to investigate.
Please read through the suggestions below and share and practice them with your children. We don't want kids to fear being out and about in most places in the neighborhood, but we do want them to be very cautious and know what to do if a potentially dangerous situation presents itself.
- Try to have children go places with another person, or in a group, rather than alone. Don't drop them off alone at malls, movie theaters or parks.
- Discuss an action plan to use if a stranger approaches them in an uncomfortable way:
- Scream "HELP ME!" repeatedly
- Make a commotion
- Find other people
- Go to a safe house
- Wave arms and yell at passing cars
- Tell your children that if they are approached by an unfamiliar adult (or someone older than themselves) they should stay alert because it may be a "trick". (An example is someone asking them to help look for a lost puppy.) Teach them that adults should NOT approach children for help or directions.
- Teach your children never to approach a car when they don't know and trust the driver.
- Give your children permission to be assertive with adults and practice refusal skills. It's okay to say, "No!" and get away if someone tries to touch them or treat them in a way that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
- Teach your children to "get away" to a public place like a business for help.
- Children should never go anywhere with anyone - or accept anything from anyone - without getting your permission first.
- Identify a group of people that you and your children can turn to for help with safety and decision making (extended family, close neighbors, friends, etc.).
- Interact regularly with your neighbors. Tell your children whose homes they are allowed to visit with your permission.
- Have a plan for what your children should do if they come home, find the door locked, and no one is there (e.g., go to a trusted neighbor's home, go back to school if it's reasonably close, etc.).
- Help your children memorize their full name, phone number, address, parent's name, and their parent's work number.
Encourage your children to share their concerns with you by telling them you will listen to them, believe them, and support them. Additionally, a reminder about not having students arrive at school before 8:45 am needs repeating here as there is no adult supervision outside prior to that time. Teachers will escort students out of the building at dismissal, as usual, and encourage them to go straight home without dawdling along the way.
Please don't hesitate to contact school about specific concerns you might have regarding the safety of your children.
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