Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stranger Danger

Not sure where to start this post.

Woke up this morning, checked Facebook and Twitter as per usual ... saw some posts from friends about two attempted child abductions over the last week at 2 different schools.  The more we chat the more concerned I become.  One of these attempts, the man behind the wheel followed a kid right down my entire street

My street! 

Had I missed this on the news?  No, it wasn't ON the news at that point (not until after noon today).  White man in his 40's driving a white sedan trying to take kids.  Oddly enough I haven't seen one extra police car either (though others have assured me they have noticed an increased presence).  It bothered me enough to sit down before school this morning and ask the boys some questions.

Hey guys, what would you do if someone came up to you and said they lost their puppy... what if they asked you to go with them to find it?  All 3 of those boys said oh yes they would go, because you should always help people.  My jaw dropped.  I asked what if someone promised you candy?  Sure! they replied, We like candy!

I sat down (before I fell down) and shut off the TV.  We went over the right answers.  We went over stranger danger... the best I could since I was talking to two 4 year olds and a 5 year old here.  For awhile now I have realized that I maybe was not setting the best example.  From the time they were all babies we were an attraction where ever we went with the triple stroller once the twins arrived.  Now there is no stroller but we are constantly asked if the boys are triplets... people are ALWAYS talking to them which does sometimes make me uncomfortable... but at the same time I am there with them.

Without mentioning why we were talking about this we talked some more and then went off to school.  (Before also mentioning no one was allowed to walk themselves out the door to the truck in the driveway anymore without Mom.)  I drove them 10 minutes down the road, past 3 other schools, to their own school.  We have a waiver to go to a different school since the Big Guy has gone for 2 prior years.  I love the school we are at.

The office was too crowded to get in before school, so I showed up early for morning pick up and went into the office.  I asked if they had been told about the attempted abductions and they had no idea.  I explained what I knew and I have to say I felt like I was not quite taken seriously.  It was brushed off a bit because the schools were further away - and I was told if the police were concerned about the area they would let them know.

It's 10 minutes away.  This man can't drive 10 minutes down the road?!

They said they would let the staff on duty outside know so that made me feel a bit better... but then I asked if they discuss stranger danger with the younger set at school.  I told them what happened when I spoke to my own boys this morning.  Interesting answer.  They don't really discuss that in school because they don't want to 'scare' children and it's really the parent's job to teach that sort of thing at home.

Anyone else dropping their jaw with me here?

Yes, as a parent it is my job to teach my children.  But at the same time I can't understand why a talk about this shouldn't be included at school. 

My God I remember being in elementary school when Frankie Barnes and Jason Wolf went missing.  Not even from my school but as kids we were all afraid.  I'm pretty sure we had some sort of an assembly after that... oh yeah, it must have been AFTER they went missing.  I also grew up near a set of train tracks and I vividly remember the train safety videos they would show when we were small.  Scared the hell out of me.  You know, so we wouldn't go near the tracks.

I look at what is taught today and realize there are only so many hours.  I also realize just how hard teachers and staff work every day.  I know it's my job as a parent to teach my children all that I can.  But why are we drawing the line here because it will scare kids. 

There is so much that doesn't make sense to me.  Like the breakfast program at schools - some schools offer free breakfasts to all students because of the percentage of children living below poverty level in the community.  Some schools even have actual dentists show up and clean kids teeth for the same reason.  If these two things aren't part of the 'parent's job' I don't know what is.   The economy is horrible, I get that.  I don't want to see kids go hungry, who does.  But at the same time these schools are so underfunded to begin with ... and yet there is money somewhere set aside for food and dentists... and who knows what else.  The things that most of us work to provide. 

But we can't really talk to kids in school about strangers... just kind of shaking my head.

Tell me parents, am I out of line?