At the Jan. 14 Sonoma Valley community safety event to discuss the Jan. 7 crimes against two Altimira Middle School students, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office, the Sonoma Valley Unified district, Glen Ellen therapist Rebecca Bailey and abduction survivor Jaycee Dugard the following tips:
A buddy system is always best. Students should walk to and from school and activities in pairs or groups.
No shortcuts. Students should stick to public roads and not take routes through creekbeds, backyards or undeveloped areas. Parents should know their route.
Bright light is best. Students should try to walk around only during daylight hours or to stick to well-lighted roads.
Be aware. Students walking to school with a phone should be urged not to stare down at their screen while walking. They should be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Discuss who to trust. Kids should be taught that bad guys don’t always look like bad guys and that there is no reason for any adult, ever, to ask a child for help or directions.
Call for help. Kids should know how to call 911 and be comfortable doing so. They should be instructed to provide their location first and foremost.
Tracking is optimal. If possible, install a free app like Life 360 or Find my iPhone before your child is given their first phone and make it a required condition.
Consider an ID kit. Families should have clear and up-to-date photos of their children on their phone or computer and consider having finger prints and hair samples tucked away in case of an emergency.
A safe list. All kids should have a circle of trusted contacts and parents should know how to reach them.
A confidant. All children should have at least one person they feel comfortable confiding in (parent or other) and that person should have the child’s social media, phone and computer passwords.