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Children and Strangers


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sbozarth23 December 17, 2008


There will be police officers coming to my son's school district in January to talk to the younger students about "stranger danger." They will only have about 15-30Min's a classroom to discuss this important topic.


Do you think this is effective?


Some parents are complaining that it will create an unnecessary feeling of fear among the younger students.


What do you think? What is the best way to equip a child with these tools so that they are better protected? Ensuring that the information about strangers is memorable and not frightening?


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tjlove December 17, 2008


This is a great post!

I don't know if this is going to come out the right way, but I think it's appropriate for children to have a little fear of the world around them, call it "developing an awareness."

I also think that when this kind of information comes from an authority figure, such as a police officer, children tend to listen better and will probably take the talk more seriously. My guess is that this will be presented in a way that is not frightening to the children. But maybe the parents or the teacher can have a follow up conversation with the kids to make sure no one is unnecessarily frightened.

This reminds me of a childhood experience. We had a family meeting once a week and one particular week my parents decided to go over fire safety and escape routes and they showed us the rope ladder. My youngest brother was about six or seven and in the middle of our meeting he left the room. When he came back he was wearing a couple layers of clothes, a coat, and he had his shoes on and a little bag packed. He was ready! We all laughed and thought it was cute, but he was actually pretty scared. I think he had never in his life considered that a fire could burn down our house.
Yes, he was scared, but he was also made a little more aware of a possible danger and he was hopefully a little better equipped to deal with it.

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MSMomm December 17, 2008


A lot of younger kids "look up" to police officers. Also, the teachers will be talking to their students about "stranger danger" and why police officers are at the school in the first place. The school will also be providing brochures and handouts to parents about strangers.

It's always the parents' ultimate responsibility to talk to their children about strangers and how to deal with them. Having the police officers come to the school to talk about strangers is just a way to enhance what parents should already be discussing with their children.

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debrasuefitzge December 17, 2008


i agree with msmomm,kids do look up to police officers,and it is also the parents responsiabilty to talk to their children about strangers and the dangers of talking to them

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Janette December 22, 2008


In actuality there is very little "stranger danger." A child is FAR FAR FAR more likely to be accosted by someone he/she knows than by a stranger.

Honestly these type of programs are a waste of time and money.


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sbozarth23 December 23, 2008


Janette,

While statistically it is correct that the child will most likely know their abuser/abductor these programs still have valuable information to pass on to our children. Here's why, these programs teach children they can't tell the good guys from the bad guys by how they look. As well as letting them know they are responsible for keeping themselves safe when their by themselves. "One of the primary ways children get hurt with strangers is by being friendly and helpful. If they understand that taking care of themselves is their first priority when they're alone, they have permission to ignore or deny adult requests for assistance (Sherryll Kraizer, Ph.D.)." One of the primary goals of these programs is to instill in children the confidence to leave a situation (no matter who it involves) that is making them uncomfortable or afraid and go to a trusted adult. This empowerment will carry over into many aspects of their lives including when they are dealing with an abuser/abductor that is known to them.

Even though the chances of being abducted/abused by a stranger are rare if this program saves just one life or empowers one child to report their abuser than it is by no means a waste of time or money.

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MagnetMom December 23, 2008


The firefighters come to my daughter's school and don't stay very long. While the chances of having a fire are as unlikely, it's important that all children understand what a firefighter looks like with breathing apparatus on.

I think the risk of frightened children is small compared to the need for children to understand there are strangers to be afraid of--and strangers they can seek for help. Not knowing the difference would be a bigger danger.

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1seremen December 23, 2008


It is effective to many students and parents. This is very common in many school districts form Day care center, pre-schools to elementary schools. My children had these officers when they were in pre-school and they enjoyed everything about the class.

I think the concern of the parents are alright, but it is unnecessary for them to complained about one little part of their children's education.

For me, practical example works in most cases, the reason my school district practices fire drill at least twice a month and the school counselor teaches all forms of safety issues and I practice fire drill in my house bi-monthly.

My children are taught many aspects of police officers' job. They love to say hello to any one in uniform. Yesterday, my husband was given a warning instead of a ticket because of the friendliness of my children to the police officer.

Parents have a responsibility to teach their young children what police officers do. The fact is many of their job goes beyond arresting people or creating a fear in the community.

A great discussion!


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maggie93215 January 9, 2009


I think having any public safety officer come to the school to talk about kidnapping, abuse, or fire is very important. Some kids aren't lucky enough to have there parents explain things to them, and if by saving one childs life then it proves that it is and was necessary to have police come to the school. Regardless if a child is taken by someone he/she knows at least they will learn about what to do if this happens, like how to sneak away or leave a message in the restroom or something. This stuff is important I am glad they have this stuff at school. I hope it continues



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