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Sunday, August 26, 2012



Monday, August 27th, is the first day back to school for most kids in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.  That means kids of all ages and their parents will pour onto the streets, excited and maybe stressed on their way to class in the midst of rush hour traffic.  Please:
  • ·        Watch for children, tiny and teen
  • ·        Talk with kids about all kinds of safety (see tips to follow)
  • ·        SLOW DOWN in school zones.  It’s the law and the right thing to do.


The National Center for the Missing and Exploited Children has put together this list of important safety tips: 
An analysis by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children of attempted abductions during the past five years found that children are at most risk when going to and from school or school related activities1.

Parents and other adults can help keep children safe by following these ten tips2:

1.    Teach your children to always TAKE A FRIEND with them when walking or biking, and stay with a group while standing at the bus stop. Make sure they know which bus to ride.
2.    Walk the route to and from school with your children pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they're being followed or need help. Teach your children they should NEVER TAKE SHORTCUTS and always stay in well-lit areas. 
3.    It is not safe for young children to walk to and from school, even in a group. Parents should always provide supervision for young children to help ensure their safe arrival to and from school. If your children wait for a bus, wait with them or make arrangements for supervision at the bus stop. 
4.    Teach your children that if anyone bothers them, makes them feel scared or uncomfortable to trust their feelings and immediately get away from that person. Teach them it is ok not to be polite and IT IS OK TO SAY NO.
5.    Teach your children if anyone tries to take them somewhere they should RESIST by kicking and screaming, try to run away and DRAW ATTENTION by kicking and screaming "This person is trying to take me away" or "This person is not my father/mother."
6.    Teach your children NOT TO ACCEPT A RIDE from anyone unless you have said it is ok in that instance. If anyone follows them in a vehicle they should turn around, go in the other direction, and run to a trusted adult who may help them.
7.    Teach your children that grownups should NOT ASK CHILDREN FOR DIRECTIONS, they should ask other adults.
8.    Teach your children to NEVER ACCEPT MONEY OR GIFTS from anyone unless you have told them it is ok to accept in each instance.
9.    Make sure the school has current and accurate emergency contact information on file for your children and confirm names of those authorized.
10.  Always know where your children will be. Teach your children to always CHECK FIRST before changing their plans before or after school. Teach your children to never leave school, with anyone unless they CHECK FIRST with you or another trusted adult, even if someone tells them it is an emergency.

Children should be taught to trust their feelings. They need to know that if someone makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused, they should tell a parent, guardian, or trusted adult.

Texting, sexting, cyberbullies, Facebook bullies, Twitter messages, can all get out of control in a hurry, even at very young ages.  Have an in-depth discussion—and many more after—with your pre-teens and teens about the right way to use technology and let them do much of the talking about how they use it, what they see and hear, and any concerns that come up.  Have open-door policies and check cell phone bills, scan texts once in a while, and keep computers in a public area of the house.  Passwords should be accessible to parents.  You don’t have to look all the time.  You don’t have to be an invasive spy, but letting kids have the backup to say “my parents would see that” is often the difference between safety and trouble, even if they complain to you about it.

Don’t forget, kids sometimes create multiple accounts.

Establish rules for checking in, emergency numbers, backup contacts, and know the names of your childrens’ friends and their parents, along with how to reach them.  How many phone numbers could you rattle off in this day of programming numbers into mobile devices?

Make sure young children know their last names, parents' full names, the street and address of home, home phone numbers (work, too, if possible), and place parents work.  Be sure the school has up-to-date contact information.

Pack a lunch the night before if possible and have a little lunch money.

Make sure everyone lays out clothes, school supplies packed in backpacks, and anything they’ll need for after school until pickup.  This will help the morning rush and nerves.

Have directions or school bus stop information prepared ahead of time and leave early so nobody is rushing.  Make sure all children are accounted for when you empty out the minivan at home or work—this is not a joke.  It has happened when people are in a new routine.

CMS Helpful Link Page
For parents with kids going back to school, check with this Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools back-to-school page that contains a checklist with everything you need to know before the kids go back:

Student Assignment:
Registration & Address Update

Vaccines and physicals required

Bus Stops:
Locations & times.   SOME HAVE CHANGED
If you have questions about transportation, call 980-343-6715

School Bell Schedule

Required Supplies
Vary by individual school
Open House

ASEP After School Enrichment Programs

Now go, and learn, and have fun!

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