301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
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CHRISTIAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
CORRECTIONAL CENTER * 9-1-1 CENTER
301 W. FRANKLIN STREET • P. O. BOX 678 • TAYLORVILLE, IL 62568
BRUCE KETTELKAMP PHONE (217) 824-4961
CHIEF DEPUTY FAX (217) 824-4963 SHERIFF’S OFFICE
BRUCE ENGELING FAX (217) 824-7890 9-1-1/COMMUNICATIONS
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FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL. 2, NUMBER 9
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
STUDENT SAFETY – HOW TO IMPROVE IT
As the school year gets underway and families are more often separated at various times during the day, it’s an excellent time to review some of the more important rules for minimizing the range of problems that can arise. It’s especially important since so many of these situations affect our young kids.
Here are some of these important problem situations together with ideas on how to prepare and to minimize them.
WHAT SHOULD A CHILD DO IF APPROACHED BY A STRANGER?
The basic problem? Kids see strangers every day in stores, in the park, and in their neighborhoods. In general these strangers may be very nice and normal people. No reason to fear them. But then again, maybe there is.
Obviously the most important task is to teach the child about strangers and questionable behavior.
First, who is actually a stranger? It may be anyone that your family doesn’t know well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that these people “look strange” like the characters in a cartoon.
And of course you can’t tell if particular strangers are nice or not nice just by looking at them. Generally, it’s advisable to be careful around all strangers.
But sometimes a child may have to reach out to a stranger. They may be facing a difficult situation such as feeling someone is following them, being lost, or trying to find their destination or how to get there.
And if a child is in a troubling situation what should happen? Say a child is being followed by a stranger. The safest thing for them to do in many cases is to ask another stranger for help. To help them in this, you have to work to teach them which strangers are okay to trust.
And what strangers are the safest? Police officers, firefighters, school officials, librarians are very recognizable safe strangers. You can help our young ones by pointing out examples of the safe strangers when you’re out with the child. Local stores, restaurants, and the home of family or friends are also good example to find help.
IS YOUR CHILD READY TO BE LEFT AT HOME ALONE?
How sizable is this situation? Census data indicates that about 7 million of the country’s 38 million children ages 5 to 14 are left home regularly.
Here are some more data:
600,000 5-to-8-year-olds are left in this situation
3 to 4 million of the total are under the care of siblings
The average time they are home alone is 6 hours per week.
Higher income parents are more likely to leave kids unsupervised.
So how can we prepare a child to deal with this situation? Obviously an important goal is to not only prepare the child to deal with being home alone, but to also benefit from it. And the experience can do that if it is properly handled.
An important key is to be able to take cues from kids in order to gauge their readiness.
Here are some fundamental ideas:
Be sure to let a neighbor know when a child is going to be alone.
Some children are not comfortable when alone and it’s dark outside. You must be aware of the child’s reaction to this situation.
Never leave a child in the charge of a younger family member,
Teach these kids and then insist on their following the rule that they do not answer the door.
Teach the child to dial a cell phone to reach an adult if some problem is suspected.
If they should happen to answer a phone, teach them what to say to the caller. “I’m sorry, but Mom is busy right now,” is a good choice.
Set up and thoroughly discuss house rules to cover possible situations. Young ones should know what to do if, for example, they smell smoke or if someone wants to come over.
BULLYING – A GROWING PROBLEM
Bullying gets a lot of coverage from the media because of the tragic events it has led to in some schools.
One of the most significant results is a loss of self-esteem amongst victims. Bullying often builds powerful psychological changes in a victim. In many cases, some children avoid school. Their grades may go down.
Bullying can be brought into anyone’s life. Often the underlying factors are psychological traits that a victim exhibits. These youngsters are often shy, sensitive, and insecure. Sometimes the abuse is triggered by physical reasons such as being overweight, having a small body, or having a disability.
There are different types of bullies, but while their motivations vary, there are some common characteristics:
They are concerned with their own pleasure.
They want power over others and will stop at nothing to get it.
They don’t suffer from any anxiety over their actions, seeing themselves in a positive
Up to age 7, bullies will pick on anyone. Older than 7, they generally single out certain targets to attack.
Here are some suggestions on the things a parent can do to help protect a child from bullying:
1. In most situations avoidance is the best action.
2. Help the child to build healthy self-esteem.
3. Teach him or her to handle arguments without violent words or actions.
4. Being confidant and having friends will reduce bullying attempts.
5. Take your child’s complaints of bullying seriously. Encourage them to talk about their school experiences.
6. If you think your child is a bullying victim, report it to the school.
7. Be sure you are not a bully yourself. Your child needs to recognize the behavior for what it is rather than something frequently existing in the home.
We all know many of the dangers a child can face in using the Internet. In addition to the most basic concerns, such as the amount of inappropriate material that can turn up, some possibilities are even more dangerous. One of these is the possibility that a young user will supply information that can be dangerous to the child and/or his family.
Pedophiles have even been successful in using e-mail or other Internet functions to gain a child’s confidence. There have been cases where these people have managed to arrange face-to-face meetings.
It is essential that parents minimize the risks of these threats. Parents should set reasonable rules about usage and time limits and make sure they are understood. Post them near the computer as a reminder of what is expected of the young user.
Make the computer a family activity, and keep it in a place where you can keep aware of what is happening.
One final thought. Be sure to teach your child how, and when, to dial 9-1-1. Review these rules frequently to make sure they are ready to be applied if needed.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: