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November 3, 2013

GUEST OPINION: Lack of adult education confuses children

By STACY URBAN

Are we putting our children in danger? As a mother, it is my duty to love and raise my children to be strong, independent and productive members of society. But in doing so, it is necessary to educate them in the dangers that the world can present – be good little boys and girls, but be wary.

“Don’t talk to strangers” and “don’t go anywhere with anyone without permission from me” are two of many things that we say to our children and hope that if the unfortunate occasion should come up, they will know what to do. However, teaching them what to do does not help if we are circumvented by other adults and authority figures in their lives.

It happened to me and it is scary to see a stranger put my child in their car; the helpless feeling of watching my child being led away and out of my sight. The heart-stopping moment I saw a stranger’s hands on my child, the blood rushing as I began to run and try to scream, with nothing coming out, and the gut-wrenching awareness that might be the last time that I ever see him again. It is something that no parent should ever have to go through.

It was a hard lesson and it made me deeply consider everything that is said to my children about this subject, whether it is by me, a trusted adult or otherwise.

According to the Klaas Kids website, the United States Department of Justice, office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, offers these shocking percentages: Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: “family kidnapping” (49 percent); “acquaintance kidnapping” (27 percent); and “stranger kidnapping” (24 percent).

My son’s situation fell into that 27 percent that is the acquaintance kidnapping. I had to come to terms with the realization I almost lost my son to a kidnapping. As I watched from my car, he walked home from school and felt that little bit of independence until she pulled him across the road and put him in her car. Luckily for me, the woman who “helped” my son was the mother of one of his second-grade classmates, but I didn’t know her, or her intentions.

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