The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office unveiled a new program to elementary school students called the Dangers of Strangers at the Midtown Community Elementary School in Neptune on May 25th. The program, which is being offered to all elementary schools in Monmouth County makes students aware of the Dangers of Strangers in their communities and elsewhere. "Children are our most valuable resource, but they can also be our most vulnerable," said Sheriff Shaun Golden. "That's why it is vital that children are made aware and often reminded about the Dangers of Strangers, this program does just that."
The 45 minute program which was presented in English and then Spanish at Midtown Community Elementary School, teaches students what to do if a stranger tries to engage them in conversation, whether on the street, on the telephone, when home alone or on the internet. Through the presentation they learn about the tricks that a stranger may employ to lure them into a harmful situation, and how under no circumstances should they go with a stranger regardless of the situation. "This is important information that all students need to absorb, since dangerous strangers have a way of luring children through bribes and false claims, such as a family emergency, a fake injury or a lost pet," said Freeholder Deputy Director Robert D. Clifton. During the program students were also taught how to report suspicious activities to local law enforcement by using 9-1-1.
According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, each year approximately 797,500 children are reported missing, which is an estimated 2,100 a day, many of those children are never found. "The safety of our students is a priority throughout the Neptune Township School district. Having this program is of great value to all of our elementary school students, particularly those from our ESL program (English as a second language), who may even be looked upon as more vulnerable, because of a language barrier," said David Mooij, Superintendent of Neptune Schools.
At the conclusion of the program students will know what a stranger is and not to talk to one, know what to do, if when home alone a stranger calls on the phone or comes to the door, know about stranger tricks and how not to fall for those tricks, know what to do if grabbed by a stranger, know about safe places to go, know safety tips for outside and inside the home and know to never give personal information about yourself or family to anyone in person, over the phone or on the internet.
Along with the Dangers of Strangers, other Bi-lingual programs being offered through the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office are Identity Theft, Youth Identification and Ident Adult.