By Vivian Blevins
Although we are aware that the harm caused to our children and grandchildren sometimes comes from people they know, we want to be informed of our responsibilities as caregivers to do what we can to thwart the dangers to which our children could be confronted. The first is to recognize that some out there are not good people.
Our children know how to fasten their seat belts, look both ways before crossing the street, not get into a car with strangers, and a few other widely accepted precautions. What about child abductions, sexual assaults, school shootings that terrorize many of us. Ten deaths at Columbine in 1999 and 26 at Sandy Hook in 2012.
We can’t always be there for them, and neither can their teachers or a responsible adult. Sometimes our children will have to make decisions for themselves about how to react when they sense danger or when danger confronts them in the face as they walk to school, play in a park, walk in mall or use the public library. .
Professor Beth Bengough, who teaches psychology at Edison State Community College, says, “My advice to parents would be to use common sense and encourage frequent and open communication. Absolutely, a child should be warned about the common dangers of life. When a child hears about life-threatening events, parents should use this opportunity to share tips on how to stay safe and encourage the child to discuss their thoughts and feelings about the event.
The issue is balance with concern for our young people. What should we teach them? How much is too much? How much is too little? My column is for those responsible for the welfare of children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
We teach our children to be nice, to be polite, to watch the volume of their voice. All of these teachings must disappear when our children face physical danger. Twice have I faced such danger as a child decades ago in a community that was by all accounts safe, so I understand firsthand the importance of this topic.
Training educators and public school children is important, and in the small town of over 20,000 people where I live, such training is provided by the Police Department’s School Resource Officer, Chris Walters. Walters graduated from the Edison State Police Academy 15 years ago, and after working in law enforcement in Covington for 8 years, he came to the Piqua Police Department where he oversees a host of programs in seven public schools and two parochial schools.
ALICE Certified Instructor (Educational Intruder Instruction which includes the following topics: Alert, Lockout, Inform, Deter, Evacuate) and other ALICE Certified Law Enforcement Officers at the Piqua Police Department comply to the Ohio State mandate that all schools, K-12, conduct a total of six security drills each year regarding school intruders. A subsection of the DARE program, these safety drills include theoretical scenarios in which participants use what they are taught to solve problems they may one day face.
Walters believes it is essential that parents educate themselves. He says: “When we talk about ALICE and the threats to our children, one of the most important things to remember is not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen, and preparation is the key. It is essential that parents educate themselves and educate their children.
Walters teaches the ALICE program to teachers, then they explain the concepts of the program and what they have learned in language-appropriate terms to their students (you can find the program in various places on the Internet).
Joseph Mahan, commandant of the Edison State Criminal Justice Academy, believes that we need to teach our young children to be aware of their surroundings and that “even young children have an intuitive sense when something is wrong. not. And we need to encourage them to pay attention to those feelings.
He has some specific suggestions that parents and guardians might consider teaching their young children:
1. There is safety in numbers. Stay with other children. If you are alone, taking your dog with you is a good strategy. If you are alone and you sense danger, always run to where people are.
2. Make some noise. Yell. Shout, “Why are you following me?” or “Get away from me!” Never fall into the trap that your mother is in the hospital or someone wants you to help find a lost dog.
3. Run. Run away if you can and scream as you run.
4. If you’re hiding and have your phone, turn off the ringer. Dial 911.
5. If there is a risk of physical injury to yourself, fight as if there is no tomorrow. Biting, scratching, hitting, kicking and screaming all the time.
6. To avoid being captured, fall to the ground or the ground, remain inert and scream. If you are captured, look for an opportunity to escape.
In summary, Mahan says, “The strongest human instinct is that of survival: RUN, HIDE, FIGHT. Forget any defeatist attitude and know that there are no rules. The mantra is “I’ll get through this”. I will win. I will live to see tomorrow.’ “
PS: Edison State Librarian Nicole Dunn researched SearchOhio and OhioLINK and identified 16 books you might consider for more. Just send me your email and I’ll send you the list.
Vivian B. Blevins, Ph.D., a graduate of Ohio State University, served as community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunications employees across the country and students. at Edison State Community College and working with veterans. The views expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these views or the independent activities of the author.