4 tips for keeping your kids safe on their walk to school from a Detroit police officer

To keep students safe as they head back to school in the city of Detroit, collaboration is the name of the game. Detroit Public Schools, several law enforcement agencies and community groups are working together to bring Operation Safe Passage back for the second year with a few changes to their formula.

According to Detroit Police Officer Monica Evans, the program will continue to focus on the neighborhoods surrounding Cody, Denby and Osborn high schools. Community groups, like Brothers on Patrol, will continue to patrol the neighborhoods when kids are walking to and from school. Social workers will still work with students who are at-risk to determine what community support they need to stay in school. Community groups and churches will continue to provide after-school programs to keep kids off the streets.

One change is the addition of the Safe Schools Safe Communities Academy (PDF flier), a one-day workshop designed to help community groups learn from the successes of Operation Safe Passage while giving those community groups the tools to make similar changes in their own neighborhoods. The Academy is being held on Aug. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Suites Hotel, 525 W. Lafayette in Detroit.

Another change is a $10 million plan by the state of Michigan to demolish vacant and dangerous houses within an easy walk of any Detroit public school. Evans says demolition should be wrapped up within four months.

Tips for keeping all kids safe in route to school

Back to school season is here and many parents are just as nervous as their kids about a new school year starting. Will your child fit in with their new classmates?  Will they eat a healthy lunch? Will they be safe on their way to and from school?

Officer Evans says that following these four suggestions will go a long way toward making sure your kids are safe on their journey to school.

  1. Teach kids not to walk and text, it will help them avoid trip-and-fall accidents while allowing them to remain aware of potential stranger dangers.
  2. Get a high-pitched whistle and attach it to their backpacks. Just in case a stranger does approach them, this is a great tool for kids to get attention quickly.
  3. Kids should walk on sidewalks when they are available. Also, all students should avoid taking shortcuts to school and they should avoid vacant houses.
  4. Teach your child to keep their heads up and to make eye contact with people walking past them. It helps show people that your kid is alert and confident, two qualities perpetrators dislike in potential victims.

Photo credit: cseeman

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