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AlertID and McGruff the Crime Dog® Share “Back to School” Tips to Protect Kids

Kids around the country are getting ready to go back to school and their safety is always a top priority.

Las Vegas, NV; Palo Alto, CA; and Arlington, VA – August 8, 2013 ― Kids around the country are getting ready to go back to school and their safety is always a top priority. Back to School is the perfect time for AlertID and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to offer important tools and tips for administrators, parents and students to get the school year off to a great and safe start.

AlertID, which is a free national service, helps to reduce crime and provides a safe way for people to receive and share trusted public safety alerts and information.  By providing up-to-the-minute information on crime in many major cities, fire, sex offenders, severe weather, natural disasters and more, AlertID is a secure way for neighbors, friends and families to communicate information that can help them live safely.

Back to school isn’t just for kids, it’s for parents, students, administrators, and law enforcement, too,” said Michelle Boykins, NCPC Senior Director of Communications.  “Each of us needs to study these simple tips below to ensure we help create a safer and more secure environment for our children.”

AlertID and the NCPC (Home to McGruff the Crime Dog®), the nation’s leader in crime prevention, encourage everyone to enroll for AlertID and to review the tips below to keep kids safe.

Tips for administrators:

  • Encourage students and parents to report to law enforcement and school administrators any threats to bring weapons or harm others.
  • Enroll for AlertID at www.AlertID.com to be aware of the dangers (crimes and sex offenders) to your students and the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Enforce school policies toward the presence of weapons, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
  • Develop protocols between law enforcement and the school about ways to share information about school safety concerns.
  • Involve teens in designing and running programs such as conflict resolution, mentoring, peer assistance, School Crime Watch, and graffiti removal programs.
  • Insist that all students put outerwear in their lockers during school hours.
  • Establish a policy of positive identification such as ID badges for administrators, staff, students, and visitors.

Tips for parents:

  • Ask about the safety and emergency plans for your children’s school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies have been considered and planned for? Create a group on AlertID with your school administrator to share emergency information with staff, parents and others via email and push notifications
  • Talk to your children about their day. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs of bullying, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.
  • If you see something that is suspicious in your neighborhood, report to local law enforcement and share updates with your neighbors on AlertID.
  • Teach children to resolve problems without fighting. Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.
  • Keep an eye on your children’s Internet use. Talk to your children about what they do online – what sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with. Encourage them to speak up if something makes them uncomfortable, or if they witness forms of cyberbullying such as threats or harassment.

Tips for students:

  • Map out with your parents a safe way to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid crossing busy roads and intersections, if possible. Do a trial run with your parents so that you can discuss areas to avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.
  • Discuss with your parents the trusted adults you should approach if you need to ask for help along your route to and from school.
  • Walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and wait at bus stops with other children.
  • Follow traffic signals and rules when walking or biking. You should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections with crossing guards whenever possible.
  • Do not talk to strangers or people you “sort of know”, and do not go anywhere with or accept gifts from them without your parents’ permission. If you see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in your school you should tell a trusted adult.
  • Memorize your phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers such as your parents’ work and cell phone on a card to carry with you.

For more information on school safety, visit NCPC’s website at https://www.ncpc.org/topics/school-safety  and the AlertID Live Safely™ Resource Center (developed in conjunction with NCPC) at www.AlertID.com/search.

“Back to school is an important time for families to discuss safety with their children, review safety tips and be aware of threats to their children at home and school,” said AlertID founder, Keli Wilson.

To sign up for a free AlertID account, or for more information, please go to www.AlertID.com.

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