One Easy Thing to Do to Help Keep Kids Safe
1/16/2013 3:27 PM
It didn't receive the nationwide media attention it should have, but this week a Muslim Mom and her daughter went through a harrowing experience. A little five year old girl was abducted from her school in Philadelphia. Alhamdullilah, she was found alive, roughly 20 hours later, the next morning. She was shivering in the 30 degree temperature in nothing but a shirt at a local playground. Only Allah(swt) knows what that poor little girl went through during that time.
Her Mom wears the abaya and often the niqab. The abductor knew this, and also wore an abaya and niqab. The substitute teacher (being a substitute) did not know the Mom, and believed the woman when she said that she had already signed the girl out--letting her go. Nobody knew the little girl had been abducted until it came time for the girl to go home--six hours later.
It's obvious that the abductor knew her target very well. It's even possible that with most predators, she knew the child herself. She knew her Mom's style of dress--and that it would be great for concealing her crime. Philadelphia, where this occurred, has already faced a crime streak where non-Muslim bank robbers wore niqabs when performing their crimes. The kidnapper also knew (or perhaps just got lucky) that a substitute teacher would be present. While it's easy for us to lay blame at the school for not requiring I.D.--we also need to take our children's safety into our own hands.
FAMILY "CODE" WORD:
One easy way to lessen the likelihood of this happening, according to many experts, is to have a code word that only you and your child know. Tell your child that ANYTIME you will not pick him up at school, that the adult picking them up will know the code word. Tell them that it's a secret, that they cannot tell the word to anybody. It can be anything. If you are multicultural, it can be a word from the non-English language that you and your children know, such as "mishmish" (apricot in Arabic). It can be the name of a favorite place or TV character. They are not to ever "help" the person with the word. If the person does not know the word, they need to tell the adult that this person does not know their family's code word and to call their parents. If this is in public, they need to scream that this person is not their mother/father--and to yell, bite, scream, kick to get away. Experts also recommend yelling "I'm not an easy victim!"
Once you decide on the word, role play with your children. Try and get them to tell you the word, rather than your telling it to them. Pretend that you're a "bad" guy, trying to entice them. Talk to them about lures that may be used--including money, candy, toys, video games (DS), asking for help/directions, as well as threatening to hurt your parents.
There are lots of more safety tips in this article.