Police discuss 'stranger danger' with kids

Nathan Liewicki
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'No, go and yell' are three biggest keys: Cst. Giraudier

Whenever Cst. Landon Giraudier gives a presentation on “stranger danger” to young kids, he always quizzes them.

Two students cross the street at a local school Thursday. Moose Jaw Police Service Cst. Landon Giraudier has been giving presentations to young students at schools, warning them of "stranger danger."

“If a stranger offers you candy, a toy, or tells you to come with them you’ – and then I let them try to figure out what to say,” said Giraudier.

There are three things, which the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) constable referred to as his “big three things,” that Giraudier tries to engrain into students’ minds.

“I tell them to say the word ‘no’ out loud,” he said. “The next thing is ‘go,’ and run away fast. (Lastly), they need to yell and make as much noise as possible, yelling stranger, stranger.”

Simply put, Giraudier’s message, which is primarily for pre-school, kindergarten and Grade 1 students, is: no, go and yell. He added that after yelling, kids should find a safe adult.

However, before the quiz, Giraudier explains to kids the difference between good and bad strangers, noting that strangers “don’t always look mean or scary.”

He tells kids good strangers are people like policemen, firefighters and teachers. Conversely, he tells kids it is more difficult to know exactly who bad strangers are.

“We always tell them to go talk to their parents because their parents know better than anybody as to who is a good stranger or a bad stranger,” said Giraudier. “It’s up to parents to educate their kids on who strangers are out there.”

Giraudier told the Times-Herald that MJPS officers give presentations warning kids of stranger danger sporadically, but there has been a spike in those presentations in recent days.

Both the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division (HTCSD) also teach their students about stranger danger.

“Our schools bring in the police services to talk about stranger danger and what to do when (students) feel unsafe or scared,” said Darby Briggs, PSSD communications co-ordinator. “These education programs help teach students to be aware in every situation, both at school and at home, and we encourage parents to continue the conversation of stranger danger with their children."

Elaine Oak, HTCSD superintendent of education, noted that discussion pertaining to stranger danger could vary depending on a variety of factors, including time of the year and information reported on by the media.

She noted, however, that there is no particular program HTCSD schools have that address this issue. Instead, it is blended into areas of curriculum.

“It would just be tied into outcomes in health or social (studies),” said Oak. “There would definitely be times teachers would talk about it, even up through the middle years.”

Should a child be abducted in Moose Jaw, Giraudier said the amber alert system would alert the public about the child’s identity.

“If it did happen with someone here in Moose Jaw, we'd talk with the parents and anyone who'd last seen the child,” he said. “Then we’d be checking who they could be with and areas they frequent to determine where they might be.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Moose Jaw Police Service, Holy Trinity Catholic School Division, Prairie South School Division Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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