Well, summer vacation is over and our kids are back to school. The next couple of weeks is a perfect time for you as a parent to start talking to your kids about safety.
So let’s review what you need to do:
▪ Never place your child’s name on any piece of clothing that is visible to anyone. You do not want to make them a target for a stranger to call out to by name.
▪ Make sure your child knows his or her full name, phone number, parents’ full names, address and a work phone number.
▪ Throughout the school year, talk to your child about drugs, strangers, any weapon they might see or hear about, a bully or any related concerns. Let the child know that such information should be reported to a teacher, school police and to you immediately.
▪ If your child is going into a new school or going to school for the first time, ask them whether there is anything that frightens or makes him or her uncomfortable. Share that information with the teacher or school police.
▪ Check with your child’s school regarding policies and procedures on emergency situations so you are not frightened if there is a lock-down. If you know the policies and procedures, you can calmly pick up your child when it’s appropriate.
▪ If your child rides the school bus, talk to him or her about how to behave. If your child has to wait alone at a bus stop, stress not to accept a ride from a stranger. If older kids ride with a friend, make sure that you speak to them about wearing seat belts.
▪ Do not assume that your child knows even the basic facts about safety and other risks.
▪ Set up a regular calling time to know when your child arrives at home.
▪ Another good idea is getting your child involved in school organizations and programs. Parents should get involved in the school PTA.
Let’s not forget other measures that adults must heed, such as watching your speed in school zones and wearing seat belts at all times. It’s the law. Remember, adults are the role models for their children.
In the next few weeks, I will be providing you with tips on topics such as bullying and cyber-bullying for students and parents. This topic is extremely important for parents to be aware of these issues that can be hurtful to their children.
Our Youth Crime Watch program will once again start implementing Youth Crime Watch Clubs in the schools to train students on various safety issues teaching our children on being safe and alert in their schools. Some of the topics we offer include reporting crimes, school violence prevention and personal safety. This program is partially funded by Miami-Dade Schools Police, establishing a partnership at an early age with the students in our community. As always you can contact our office for a variation of brochures on different topics.
Parents and grandparents, the next couple of weeks is your opportunity to start getting your students ready for a great school year.
Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.