School is out, but safety shouldn’t be

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, May 27, 2015

School-age children are out for summer break, but most of their parents are not. The question of who is watching those children gets more important as the days get warmer.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department received a report Sunday about a man in a vehicle who approached a young person earlier in the week. Sheriff Steve Rushing said although he’s never known a kidnapping under such circumstances to happen in the county, his office gets reports about strangers in vehicles approaching children.

“Especially in neighborhood areas where kids are out playing in the yard and street,” Rushing said. “If kids are approached, they should get away and go tell parents immediately.”

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Rushing suggests that children who are approached by someone they don’t know or someone who makes them uncomfortable to not talk to that person and walk to a place where there are more people. He advises parents to tell their children to stay with other children while playing as well as taking the time to tell children where safe places are in the neighborhood.

Brookhaven Police Department Chief Bobby Bell shared similar sentiments, stating that parents need to find a safe place for their children to play. He said children under 14 should not be left alone at home for any reason, and children, in general, should be left with an adult at all times.

“Parents should go over household rules and regulations with kids monthly,” Bell said. “Just like they would do with things like fire safety.”

He said that children should make as much noise as possible if approached by a stranger.

Rushing said the “stranger danger” talk can be difficult because it’s tough to know a strangers’ intent when approaching a child. However, he said it is best to err on the side of caution.

“Kids should know at an early age to stay away,” Bell said. “The best thing for kids to know is if you don’t know a person, you don’t deal with that person.”