Wednesday, June 15, 2011


So. I got a text this morning before heading off to work from Olivia's school. A child from the school was involved in 'an attempted abduction' this morning, on her way in. My blood ran cold looking at that, fear for Olivia mixed up with general fear for whoever it was, even though I'd dropped her safely in a couple hours before.

It seems the ten year old girl was 'put in a car' (possibly a white Volkswagon Golf), but then managed to get out at the lights and escape. Sick, cold, horror.

The principal is very much down playing it, says in her 34 years of teaching, she's never had this happen before.

Still... the answer to Danielle's question of when I'll let Olivia go to school by herself, when she's 18... may very well be, yes, when she's 18.

The principal went round telling the kids about it and lecturing them on safety (she 'went on and on and on' about it, according to my friend's son). I talked to her briefly, as I am never sure exactly how much to frighten the kids about why it is so imperative they have to be ready to do whatever it takes in just such a situation. I wish they'd send in an expert to do role plays and discuss tactics. It's one thing to know never to go with a stranger, it's another thing to make the most of the split seconds you've got when some man has his hand on your wrist and is pulling you into a car.

We teach them to be polite and friendly, and nice and respectful, as well as fearful... say hello to the man, tell him what age you are, don't be shy - but then they have to know how to be assertive enough to be brave enough to yell and kick and scream and punch and use their voices and ask for help from others in the moment that they're in trouble. It seems like a conflict to me.

My friend was talking to me about this, and said that when she was seven she would walk the short walk form school to music class alone, and was so impressed by the 'don't talk to strangers' talks she'd received that one day when a woman pulled up in her car and rolled down the window, Anne grabbed her breath in her fist and took off down the street, reciting 'Run! Run! As fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!!' as she dashed to safety. Bless her :)

Still. Fucking scary.

Olivia's been doing drama this year, and made me feel quite satisfied with her answers as to what she'd do - she knows where to hit effectively, and what to say in what kind of voice.

I don't know, though. Maybe they should all be doing some training in school, assertiveness and self defense etc. I don't know how useful the theory is on its own.


Bethany said...

Scary stuff.
I agree with you, role playing I think is most helpful. So many "tricks" people use and kids inherently do what grown ups say and I think try to be good.

Jo said...

Yes. We don't teach them to be assertive and uninhibited enough, I think. Very different messages.

It sounds like the girl in question did so well today though, gave loads of info to the police too.

Ms. Moon said...

I know this is scary but we must remember that for the most part, predators are people we know and trust. Which is even scarier. Oh Lord. Why do we become mothers at all?

Jo said...

Oh I know, very true here. I don't mean to fearmonger - but still, anyone in this area, caution!

The girl in my daughter's class who cycles to school alone (the only one!!) is still doing so...

Mwa said...

I don't know. I already let Jack go part of the way to school on his own sometimes, and he's six. And if a kid really got attacked, I feel they would just be taken anyway. Training is so different from real life. I'm trying not to let fear rule me. I have it, in spades, but I try to remember that the risk is small and the joy of independence and freedom great. I would hate it if anything happened to any of my children, but I feel there is no point keeping them on a short leash, or cooped up in the house because that is no life either. I know that when Jack is nine I will let him walk to school on his own, and when he's eleven I will send him out on his bike - possibly even earlier. And yes, he may be abducted or run over or something horrible might happen but then he could fall down the stairs here or be run over when he's eighteen. I hate hate hate even thinking about all this.

Anonymous said...

I heard about this all the way in America - dh's boss lives in Bray so he got text from their school and told dh. Thought to call you, but assumed you'd hear, never imagined it would be her school. Thank god that girl is ok. Don't know what to say about protecting kids, mine is too young to be alone... - Carina

Jo said...

Oh, thanks, hon. It's a tough one.