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Girls' deaths underscore need for after-school safety

by Bryan Painter Modified: July 10, 2008 at 2:34 am •  Published: July 10, 2008

So I made a couple of calls and did some research that will hopefully make it safer when that bus door opens for the first time of the 2008-09 school year on an August afternoon.

What police recommend
Oklahoma City police Sgt. Paco Balderrama's first suggestion is to not leave the children alone.

"Try to arrange some type of day care with a trustworthy adult,” he said.

If that's not possible then arrange with a trustworthy adult, such as a neighbor, to check on the children either by coming by the house or calling.

Also, it's a good idea to make other preparations.

Make a list of emergency numbers and post it somewhere such as a refrigerator. Phone numbers should include 911, the numbers of neighbors and mom and dad's numbers.

Balderrama also suggests giving the children another list, a "don't do” list.

"Under no circumstances will you let a stranger in the house,” he said. "Under no circumstances will you give any personal information over the phone. Have them stay away from the stove. Have them make cold sandwiches and Kool-Aid.”

Plus, the child should remain in the house until the parents arrive home and they should stay off the Internet.

"You don't want them to let someone know they are home by themselves,” he said. "It may be a predator living nearby.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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Wanda Mankin, principal
How to keep your kids safe
Once parents decide that leaving a child alone is how they will proceed, they need to make sure the child knows the tips mentioned by the Oklahoma City Police Department and a few more.

•The child should carry his or her key so it is hidden and secure. The name and address should not be on the key.

•If the child is walking home, he or she should not walk or play alone en route to the house and definitely should not take shortcuts.

•When the child gets to the house, he or she should take a look around for anything suspicious.

•Once in, the child should lock the door.

•Next, the child must call a parent or another trusted adult to report the safe arrival.

•Remind the child to call again if needed.

Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children


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