Crime Watch: Start of school year is a good time to talk to kids about safety

Well, summer vacation is over, and it’s back to the books. This week is perfect for you as a parent to start talking to your kids about safety. So let’s review, as we do every year, 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. It is not helpful when officers find children who do not know their full names or addresses.

• Throughout the school year, talk to your child about drugs, strangers and 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 the teacher, schools 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 her uncomfortable. Share that information with the teacher or schools 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/her about how to behave. If your child has to wait alone at a bus stop, stress not accepting rides from strangers. 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 speed in school zones and wearing seat belts at all times. It’s the law now! Remember, adults are the role models for their children.

For the next few Sundays, I will be providing other safety measures for our children as to bullying and cyber-bullying, a big problem across the country. We are fortunate that our own school system has developed some programs in dealing with these topics and are working with our Youth Crime Watch program in the schools.

I want to take this time to thank Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett as well as Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and the entire School Board for assisting us in continuing our Youth Crime Watch program in the schools, providing students with crime prevention techniques, ensuring their safety and that of their school.

Please feel free to contact our office either by e-mail or calling if you would like for us to send you materials on any particular topic.

Be safe and have a great week.