A week after the gruesome murder of 12-year-old Lola, many parents and students are still in shock. Some are even afraid to let their child go and come back from school alone. How can you reassure your toddler? What precautions should be taken? And how to react as a witness? The national secretary of the union SGP Police FO Unit gives us his advice.
Let your child go to school alone the morning, to come back on its own after classes, is a topic that nourishes many parents. Is he ready? Is he mature enough to take care of his own safety? And if he meets a stranger on the way to school, will he be able to react well? These are questions that parents ask themselves overnight and all the more so when cases of child abduction or murder are broadcast in a loop in the media or on social networks. Recently, the case of Lola, 12, who disappeared and was violently murdered on his way home from university has moved many families across France, rekindling other fears. To help parents prepare their children for the dangers they may be exposed to, we interviewed Jean-Christophe Couvy, national secretary of the SGP Police FO Unit union. He shares his tips And his tricks.
What precautions should be taken for a child who goes to school alone?
Above all, Jean-Christophe Couvy, who is also a father, recommends parents making children aware of the dangers that can exist outdoors, “without scaring or blocking them”. “We all have this maternal or paternal reflex to want to protect them too much, but we have to tell them the truth that in the world there are not only nice people and there are also evil people.
Parents are also interested in travel to school with their children and show them which route to take. “Avoid isolated streets, which are not too busy, even if it saves time” advise the specialist before adding “Kids should take the path as a reflex, and they should know that if they have a problem, they can go to a particular store and ask for help.” If the child has a mobile phone, it can also be a preventative. “In case of danger, he must know” call 112, this is the European emergency number, which locates callers.”
“The main difficulty is: define what a stranger is to a child.” Because young children often cannot tell the difference and can quickly trust someone if they are not warned. “A stranger is a person who has not been introduced to him, who is not part of our entourage and whom we do not trust,” explains the expert. And vice versa you should introduce him to trusted people he can turn to and talk if one day he encounters a problem on his way to school, such as a local shopkeeper for example. Certain situations should also be explained to children so that they can predict a danger.
For example :
- If the child is confronted with a stranger who asks him for help, he should know that an adult always asks for help from another adult and not from a child.
- If a stranger introduces him to a small dog or a small cat in the street, the child should not be wary or give him confidence.
In any case, a child who feels in danger in the presence of a stranger should: scream loud and trying to flee to a safe place he knows. “If he can’t, he should try to get closer to a STOP sign to be visible. The idea is that the more noise he makes and shows resistance, the less the kidnapper will focus on trying to get it. In general, these people don’t want to waste too much time with their victim, or even be noticed.
What tricks to enter?
To allow a child to go to school with a sense of security and to reassure the parents, certain measures can be taken, such as carry a whistle. A toddler can have it around his neck or in his pocket and use it if he feels like he is being followed or in danger. Parents can also take their children make up a password (grandmother’s name, pet’s name, child’s favorite movie) to be used if a person exceptionally comes to pick up the cherub at school. “The child will then have to ask him what the password is, and if the person doesn’t have it, he knows not to trust him.” expert comment.
the school gateJean-Christophe Couvy emphasizes on one point: a child must be careful with his behavior. “It should not remain alone, nor static. Either he talks to his comrades and they all go home together, accompanying each other, or he wastes no time and goes straight to his house. But a stationary person is a target. That’s why you always have to be on the move.” warns Jean-Christophe Couvy. There are also small alarmsthat you can easily take with you and that are activated with a simple push of a button.
Faced with suspicious behavior or an abnormal situation, an adult witness has the responsibility to intervene to protect the young victim. “If we see a child struggling or screaming, we have to react. We have to speak to the child, ask him if he knows this adult. We also have to quickly call the police, film the scene and the aggressor to have information,” explains the secretary of the union SGP Police FO Unit. The child should be able to tell what happened and feel confident despite the situation. It is therefore important not to frighten him, or even be too abrupt with him: explain who you are, that you are there to help him, reassure him and suggest that he call his parents.
Should we talk about this kind of drama with kids?
If dramas like the murder of little Lola are shared in the media, or are at the heart of discussions among adults and even between students, should parents talk to their children about these topics? “I think so, we shouldn’t hide the truth from them. Kids have this perception of a white and black world, and luckily they have this naivety, but they don’t always understand why there are dramas or bad guys. By discussing it with them, they can discover what the (WHERE) world. It is also better to talk to them about it so that they can put into words what they are feeling, rather than leave them in doubt. says Jean-Christophe Couvy. The discussions make it possible to express their feelings and the questions they have frankly. Children usually understand things when it is explained to them. Of course, in this kind of business it is not necessary to communicate all the details, especially the most filthy. Use simple and accessible words. You can also protect the youngest mute the screens at home so that they are not constantly confronted with shocking images.
Summary of tips and behaviors to ensure your child’s safety