Tuesday, July 22, 2008

School safety, who can pick up your child?

Who can pick up your child from school? Do you know what the pick up procedure is at your school? How well are those policies followed? I was watching a Dr. Phil episode about children being picked up or kidnapped from their school. In both cases the policies that are in place to protect the kids were not followed. As a parent I need to know what the procedures are and how well are they followed. How do you test your school?

What can we do to keep our kids safe? One thing to do is let our kids know what to do if someone tries to pick them up from school. One solution is to tell the child to refuse to go unless the person knows your safe word. A word only you and your child know. Your child should also know that just because a teacher says this person is here to pick you up does not mean it is ok to go. They can say NO to the teacher and not go with that person until the person gives them the word or they have talked with you over the phone.

It is funny but both kids had been told by their parents not to go with strangers, but they went anyway because the teacher told them that this man was here to pick them up. At no point was the identity of the man taking the child established. This was a definite breach of policy. So you can have the best policies in place but they are only as good as the person enforcing them.

It is not good enough to have great policies you have to enforce them as well. There are real consequences here. If someone is kidnapping a child from school chances are they don't have the best interest of the child in mind. As a parent we need to make sure the policies are being enforced, even if it is inconvenient for parents and the teachers. It is a lot more inconvenient to have to search for your child then it is to show some id when picking them up.

At our kids pre-school no one is aloud to pick up our kids unless they are on the list of people we have authorized to pick them up. On top of that they have to have verbal confirmation from us prior to pick up, otherwise the person cannot take them from the school. So we have to pre-arrange for anyone other then us to pick up our kids. Then the person has to show id proving that they are the person that they claim to be. There is only one door that people are aloud to go in or out and it is manned at all times. You have to be buzzed in. They have a great system, one of the better ones in our area. However, this fall our son is going to real school and we have to establish the schools pick up policies. I expect that they are not as secure as the preschool. Now we have to teach our son what to do if someone other then us tries to take him from school. I hope he does a lot better then the two kids that were taken from school by strangers.

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