These days people have passwords, a lot of them, mostly for use on the Internet, and some for use with the bank account. Now there is a new use for passwords. Families with young children are encouraged to set up a secret password with their kids, to be used when someone other than the usual person picks them up from school (even if it is someone the kids know). Families can also use their password to call someone who is away from home to alert them to return home immediately. A separate password can alert family members not to come home, if someone in the house is being held captive, for instance.
This idea sounds like a good one. I wonder if it would help if the family shared the password (which could be changed) with a kindergarten or first-grade teacher in cases where the one of the parents has taken out a restraining order on the other parent. Teachers are generally made aware of these types of situations, but there is always the time when there is a substitute teacher who does not know the drill. I sure would hate to be the sub who let the wrong parent pick a child up from school.
Every 40 seconds, a child becomes missing or is abducted. There are three main situations where children are abducted. Family abductions occur when a child is taken by one of the parents in violation of a custody agreement, or by a known relative. More than 350,000 family abductions occur in the U.S. each year; that is nearly 1,000 abductions per day. Family kidnapping accounts for 49 percent of all kidnappings. Non-family abductions occur when a child is coerced into a building or a vehicle or a distance of over 20 feet by someone who is not a relative. An alarming 27 % of all abductions are committed by a person that the child knows, someone they have learned to trust, such as a neighbor. Only 24% of all child kidnappings involve strangers. In 80 percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child’s home. About 74 percent of the victims of non-family child abduction are girls. Many parents are afraid that their child may be abducted by a registered sex offender, but FBI statistics for 2010 show that this is the case in only about 1% of all the abduction cases. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of cases are resolved within a few hours.
If you have children, especially if someone has to pick them up after school each day, or if they walk home from school, or from the bus stop, consider instituting a family password that can be used in emergency. The life you save may be your child’s.