By Eric Adams
President of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care
Throughout the city, our children are reaching the sad conclusion of their summer vacation and are starting to mentally prepare themselves for the day-to-day responsibilities that school brings. In contrast to the young people’s response, parents are celebrating the comfort of knowing that during the day hours their children are in the type of control environment that school brings. No matter how much we criticize the Board of Education, many parents identify with the potential of receiving a quality education for those who are willing to apply themselves and burn the old-fashioned “midnight oil.”
Just as parents are in a joyous mood, there are other groups who unfortunately look forward to the return of school for the wrong reasons. This is because the school year brings about an entire industry of individuals who are able to carry out their craft in an easier fashion during the school year. In fact, their season closes down during the summer months and picks up when the doors of the school are open.
If you think I am talking about clothing retailers or school supply merchants, then you are wrong. This group is made up of people who prey on our children. The list includes those who are pedophiles, drug dealers, child molesters and the individuals who commit predatory crimes, such as rape and robbery.
They exploit the lax atmosphere that a routine school year brings and use it to carry out their craft of preying on our children. The organized structure of a school year makes it easy to monitor our children’s movements and time schedule. This gives those who want to harm our children ten months to hone and carry out their plans. And they would not stop at anything to reach their goal. That is why it is important to meet their vigilance with an equal level of vigilance.
It is unfortunate that many parents do not have a clue on where to start
implementing proactive steps to protect their children. Our organization has long carried out workshops to explain simple child safety tips. There are a number of web sites and organizations that also inform parents on how to ensure the safety of their children. The mistake that is made is when parents believe they have all the answers and refuse to tap into the proven tactics of experts.
Some of the tips that our organization recommends for parents includes choosing routes that you want your child to take to and from school. This is important because if a child is abducted and needs to have a search conducted, the responding law enforcement officers will know where to conduct the search. It is also recommended to identify safety locations along the route. The location could be a store, church, police station, etc., and it will serve as an emergency location where your child can go if he or she feels threatened.
Other tactics include having a frank conversation about drugs. Only saying no to drugs is just not going to cut it. You must back up talk with actions that includes routine examination of their physical state. Become abreast with the physical and mental characteristics that are associated with drug use.
Other challenges that face your child may come from areas that may appear harmless like the internet. Each year sexual predators surf the Internet in hopes of alluring your child away from you. Our only defense is to modernize our approach to protecting them at that same rate that others are adapting to harm them. We must meet force with force. The safety of our children depends on it.