Expert: Back to School perfect time for safety lessons

Dangers possible on- and off-campus

SAN ANTONIO - Classes may not begin until later this month for many local public school students, but one crime expert believes lessons about school safety should start at home now.  

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Eddie Gonzales, a retired police officer, said just as important as filling a child's back pack with school supplies is filling their minds with what could be lifesaving knowledge. 

He said it's a good idea for parents to start with the basics, teaching children things like staying away from strangers, knowing the route to and from their school, and how to react in an emergency. 

"If there are other parents that you're familiar with and know, that if something happens along the way, these kids know that they can go to this residence or this location," Gonzales said. "Emphasize to go from point A to point B. Don't go off track. Don't stop somewhere," he said.

Making sure they get to school safely is only part of the battle, Gonzales said.
He said children need to be prepared for possible trouble both on-and off-campus.

"There was a time when they said, 'Ok. You made it there. You're going to be OK," Gonzales said. "But now, you're dealing with a whole different set of circumstances."

Instances of bullying and deadly violence have crept onto campuses across the country.

In San Antonio last Spring, numerous threats of school violence had police and parents on high alert.

Although those instances all proved to be hoaxes, Gonzales said there is no such thing as being too careful. Each incident should be taken seriously, he said. 

"What's happened in the past, you don't really have much of a choice," Gonzales said. "You have to err on the side of caution."

He said for children, that means keeping their ears and eyes open, and if they see something unusual, they should be taught to say something.


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