There has been a worrying amount of news stories recently involving strangers approaching children in parks, supermarkets or even at the school gates. One extremely frightening local case was just a few days ago, when three men were arrested for trying to abduct a three year old girl from an Asda superstore – where she was at the checkout without her mum. Thankfully store staff intervened, but stories like this put an immense amount of fear into parents like me.

I phoned my oldest daughter’s school and asked if they planned to tighten their security measures after they text parents a number of “stranger alerts” and in response to local news stories. The school asked me what exactly it was I wanted them to do. I pointed out, that just a few weeks ago, I collected my friend’s son from school. My friend hadn’t put me down on the collection form at school and hadn’t rang the school. Her son had only met me a few times. I showed up at his gate, said his name and without even speaking to him, they just sent him straight to me.

I instantly thought… that’s not good! Whilst I knew I was just doing a favour for a friend, I fully expected them to check who I was or at least check with his mum. They didn’t even ask him if he knew me. As a new parent in the school, his teacher didn’t know who I was and I’d never seen his teacher before. I could’ve been anyone. Similarly, the same friend, has also picked my daughter up on occasions, with nobody questioning her either. Whilst I appreciate her daughter and mine are in the same class, surely somebody should still check that I had authorised her to pick up my daughter?

The school claim they have a system, where parents fill in each others names on a form to allow us to give each other permission to collect our children. Yet neither of us had filled this form in… so how security conscious are the school really?

I have obviously since complained to the school and I’m awaiting a response from the headteacher.

How security conscious is your school?

How can you find out?

Even if your school has a rigorous security policy, have you ever actually checked that they stick to it?

And what about after-school clubs… are those teachers as security conscious as your child’s class teacher?

If you are reading this and you have children of school age and you find these abduction news reports as terrifying as I do, I would suggest you test them to check. Choose somebody you trust, for example a close friend with children in the same school or your own parents, and wait around the corner whilst they try to collect your child from school. If the school allows them to collect your child without question, go into the school and complain.

There are probably some of you sitting there thinking I’m overreacting or being overprotective or a helicopter parent or whatever the current terminology is, but I don’t care. I firmly believe it is better to be safe than sorry and I want to know that my children are safe at school. I want to know that if I get there late one day, that they haven’t allowed a stranger to take my children.

I know that these news stories about attempted abductions are probably rare, but nobody wants to be the victim of one. Lately these horrible stories seem to be on the rise and if this post makes even one school tighten their school pickup policy to protect the children, then it’s worth it.

  1. Sarah MumofThree World says:

    Our school lets the kids out one at a time right until year 4 and checks the parent/ grandparent is there before letting the child go. If the chid is going home with a friend, you need to let the school know at the start of the day or they won’t let them go.
    In year 5 and 6, they don’t check who the child is going with as they are old enough to go home on their own if their parents want them to (but you do have to sign a form to say they are allowed home on their own – and a separate one for after clubs).
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted..Dance show 2015My Profile

  2. Mrs TeePot says:

    I don’t think you’re being over the top or anything like that, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect school to keep your children safe.
    I hope that the school respond to your concerns in a positive way.
    Mrs TeePot recently posted..Silent SundayMy Profile

  3. Karen says:

    Our school has a system where you have allocated adults who can collect the children (in our case my Dad, my brother, my childminder and my best friend, who’s son is also in the same class as my daughter) and if someone different is collecting them, you fill in a clip board so the teacher knows. In an emergency you have to ring the school (for example last week I got stuck in bad traffic and knew I’d be late, so I rang a friend, she agreed to collect them, her kids are at the same school, but I had to ring the office at school to tell them. Year 4 up they can go home by themselves. I don’t think they could make it much tighter?

  4. Emma T says:

    N’s at nursery at the moment and the day nursery is good. There’s a password system, you write down who’s picking up, and if they don’t know the person picking up and they don’t know the password, they ring the parent while the person has to stand outside while being checked. My OH rarely does pick ups, and the first time he did, they asked him for the password (I couldn’t remember it because we’d never used it), then for N’s birthdate – which he then got wrong by 2 days! He wasn’t impressed, but then N went running up to the window shouting ‘Daddy’ which kind of gave it away who he was!

    The other nursery they know the alternative people who pick up for me because 2 cousins have already been through the nursery.

    I don’t know the school thing, although I’ve had to write down a couple of parents at the school (presuming you know someone!) as alternatives to ring if you can’t get there. But N will be driven along with a few other children to after school club at the nursery so I’m hoping that removes some of the confusion and security potential issues.
    Emma T recently posted..Month of firsts 10 – June 2015: cycling, driving and new teacherMy Profile

  5. Steve says:

    Our local school has gone from a small village school to a complex with now over 500 infant and junior students. Constant building over the field and playground has meant home time is extremely manic and stressful for both parents but also the children. Such a shame. However, security wise I am amazed no more children have been lost or picked up by people who should not be there, children just leave their classrooms and the cramped playgound fills will hundreds of children, hundreds of parents. I cannot understand how that can be safe, or pleasant for anyone.

  6. John French says:

    My son is at nursery at the moment. The only people who are allowed to pick him up is me, my girlfriend and his grandparents. There is a password anybody else must use. It works fine.

    But I do worry when he goes to school as the number of children and staff multiplies massively. This is where mistakes can happen.
    John French recently posted..Do you need a video baby monitor?My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.