I am writing to try to drive home a point to parents and other family members about the safety of their children at public events.
Recently I attended a Western Kentucky University basketball game at Diddle Arena, and watched as a child wandered the arena for more than 10 minutes looking for her parents. She appeared to be about 10 years old, was carrying her school backpack, and was obviously lost in this large and somewhat confusing setting.
Because she kept moving around, the police and ushers did not notice that she was in distress.
I noticed her because she walked directly in front of me and the look on her face alerted me that something was wrong. (As a teacher and child care professional, I have worked with children for over 20 years.) I kept an eye on her, as I said, for about 10 minutes, thinking that if she made a complete circle of the arena and came back to our section, I would ask if she needed help.
About three quarters of the way around, she apparently spotted her family.
Every day, children are taken by predators. It happens on deserted streets, at the mall, as children walk home from school, and, yes, in crowded arenas.
If I, as a child care professional, am in tune to these signals, you can be certain that a child predator is also in tune and watching for the slightest opportunity to abduct or lure a frightened child in a vulnerable situation.
Remember, the predator does not always abduct. Sometimes they just look for a secluded area to try something unthinkable.
Please, parents, don’t take these chances. We need to avert tragedy at all possible costs. I urge everyone in the community to take the responsibility of helping children stay safe.
Anne Grubbs Bowling Green
Gaines, Jim (2003, January). Don’t take chances with your children. Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.bgdailynews.com/don-t-take-chances-with-your-children/article_49561379-7017-5b50-bbf1-cbda810dd39a.html