Taking safety seriously

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Hoover School System and Berry Middle School should be applauded and emulated for their efforts to protect children from sex offenders.

Berry Middle School now looks at the backgrounds of all school visitors by checking driver&8217;s licenses against a database containing the names of sex offenders.

While it cost about $1,500 to implement this security system, and Hoover is the first school system in the state to use the Raptor Technologies software, we believe this is an expense all school systems should consider.

The Shelby County Sheriff&8217;s Office sex offender registry includes 101 sex offenders currently registered in the county alone. Not only are such measures as this necessary, but parents should also teach their children various safety measures for their own protection.

According to the Polly Klaas Foundation,

a national nonprofit that promotes child safety, youth should know their name, address, telephone number and parents&8217; names. They should also check with parents any time an older person offers them anything or invites them somewhere. They should hang out in groups, tell an adult if someone hurts them, keep doors locked when home alone and yell &8220;no&8221; and run away if an adult breaks these rules.

The KlassKids Foundation was founded in 1994 to give meaning to the death of Mark Klaas&8217; 12-year-old daughter, Polly Hannah Klass, who was kidnapped and murdered.

This group advises parents to maintain current ID, including photograph, video and fingerprints of their kids and maintain current addresses and phone numbers of their children&8217;s friends. Parents also should not advertise your child&8217;s name on clothing, school supplies or backpacks.