By Chris Onuoha
CHILDREN should be reminded about staying safe at all times when traveling to and from school, whether that is by school bus, commercial bus or walking. The times we are in right now do not give room for taking personal security for granted.
For security measures as children returns to school, Anuli Obijiaku, an education stakeholder and Founder Cuddly Kids International School, Lagos, spoke on the strength of measures on ground to which some parents do not adhere to.
“They need to work closely with the school, try to know more about the staff in the school. For example, the teaching and non teaching staff, the drivers that picks and drops the children from home to school back to home. You need to know which driver picks your child, the school bus, registration number and its logistics operations. If any other person other than the known driver picks the child with school bus, you have to know why this new person is doing the job whether he is authorized or not. Then you know that his presence is official.
Another thing is you have to limit and register who does that, not a case of your brother yesterday, your sister today, and another relation tomorrow. You have to register at least, two persons, so that the personnel in the school will be able to identify and approve. If different people come to pick your child from school, it will be difficult to know who is who. So, limiting the number will help the school to keep track.
For the school, there must be a beefed up security measure, restricting family visitors to the school, most time keep any person coming to pick the child outside the gate and also limiting persons to certain hours . Some of the measures are always in place but the issue is that most schools do not emphasize the adherence, thereby allowing loopholes.
Parents should always teach and tell them that they will not be allowing anybody other than the ones introduced to the school to come and pick them from school and must not follow anyone who has not picked them before. Also, parents should develop a special code or perhaps, a password that children should know whenever anyone other than the person they know comes to pick them.
With this code, a child should be smart enough to ask coded questions to ascertain if the fellow is from the parents when in doubt. Parents should not confuse the children by allowing many aunties or uncles to pick them randomly.
And for the kids, even if a mother has become lousy and allowing anybody to pick her child, the child should also be smart enough to ask why mother has changed or whether the fellow is being authorized to come.
Also, children should be able to recognize signs of places or stationary images like buildings in case if they are being kidnapped. In such cases children should be taught to smartly write something and drop while they are being taken away or drop anything to give clue to their whereabouts. Such signs can help in tracing the exit route of the kidnappers.
When any child notices that someone is stalking on her, she should raise alarm to attract people or if she has fallen in the hands of the stalkers, she should raise alarm immediately before they gag her mouth. For me, I will never advise that a child especially minors should walk home until they are grown to teenage age, except if they are walking in company of the older ones who go in the same direction.”