Keeping Your Kids Safe As They Head Back To School
It is back to school season. Many parents are focused on getting their children into the school routine. This includes buying clothes and school supplies and learning bus routes. For families opting into homeschooling or virtual school, preparations also include buying and getting familiar with new technology as they go into another year of learning.
For parents working outside the home, hiring a babysitter, nanny, or tutor or enrolling children in an after-school care program is often a necessity. When you want to make sure your child is safe outside of school or your direct supervision, there are several important steps to take.
Where Are They Going? What Are They Doing?
Parents are happy to see their child start a new school year filled with learning and in-person socialization. However, the start of the school year often presents safety risks that parents might not even consider. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Getting to and from school: Some parents do not bring their children to and from school. Their children walk or take the bus. Ride sharing and carpooling are popular. These options can help with the issue of transportation, but open up the possibility to your child falling victim to predators and bullying or crowds as they wait for or ride the bus or share a ride. Children under 18 are not allowed to ride Uber or Lyft by themselves. Those who walk to and from school can unwittingly put themselves in harm’s way, especially if they are alone.
After school plans: At the beginning of the school year, schedules are constantly changing. It can be a problem if your child decides to go home with a friend, attend a party, or change their schedule without telling anyone. This creates a window of time where you don’t know what’s going on. In addition to long-time tested safety rules, we now must contend with a contagious virus that can be deadly.
Extracurricular activities: School-sanctioned clubs and organizations can also pose a danger to your child, particularly if they ignore well-known safety precautions, involve little adult supervision, travel to unsafe or unfamiliar areas, or take place at night. Do your best to know what kind of in-school activities your child is involved in so that you can keep track of when and where things are taking place in the event something is wrong.
Outside Contacts: Otherwise “safe” adults can hide they are predators and children are easy victims because there is an inherent level of trust. Deltify Learning, a tutoring company, suggests that tutors avoid tutoring children alone, be cautious of online communication, and avoid taking students in their cars or to their homes.
As scary as this all sounds, parents can avoid many of these situations as they prepare to send their kids back to school.
Keeping Your Child Safe Inside and Outside of School
The first important step to keeping your child safe is to make sure that they know necessary emergency information. Your child needs to know their full name and address, your full name, their home phone number, and an emergency number like a parent’s cell phone or work number where they can be reached. Many cell phones now have emergency settings which allow easy access to this information and the ability to contact emergency services should the need arise. GPS trackable watches have also become popular for those who can access them.
You should educate your child on the importance of refusing rides or gifts from strangers no matter how nice or persuasive they are. It’s important to teach them it’s fine to avoid people and situations that make them feel uncomfortable. They should never feel forced to participate in an awkward situation or be with someone who they do not like.
How A Private Investigator Helps
Private investigative services are an option for helping your children stay safe. If your child is going to have contact or a relationship with a new person with access and influence, you can have a licensed private investigator conduct a real background check to search for criminal history, registered sex offender records, and other information of interest.
If your child is going someplace of concern or uncertainty or if they seem afraid or withdrawn after interacting with certain instructors, school staff, or care providers, a private investigator can provide surveillance and other services if needed.
You can do more to ensure your children are safe by taking these steps. If you feel you need the services of a licensed private investigator, contact Linked Investigations to learn more about how we can help you with keeping your kids safer.
Mike Garroutte has been a private investigator since 1982, and is licensed in the state of California. If you need the help of a qualified private investigator with your unique situation, reach out to us for a discreet, no obligation consultation.