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Back to School Safety Tips for Parents
From:
Polly Franks - Crime Victim Advocate, Child Safety Expert Polly Franks - Crime Victim Advocate, Child Safety Expert
Richmond , VA
Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Crime Victim Advocate Polly Franks
 

There is so much  more to getting our kids ready for another school year besides buying new clothes and school supplies.  According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, your son or daughter is at their greatest danger of an abduction when going to and from school. 

Here are critical steps to keep your children safe: 

1.  Check your sex offender registry !! Whether your child is riding the bus or walking to school, parents need to know who lives in proximity to their children's routes to and from school.  We recommend the Family Watch Dog website at www.familywatchdog.us .  Not only is this information free and fast, you can also sign up for regular email notifications when a convicted sexual predator has moved near your home or school.  In addition, check familywatchdog.us for your child's babysitter's neighborhood, friends homes, church, temple or Grandma's house - any neighborhood where your child will be spending time. 

2.  Make your child aware of any sex offenders in your neighborhood, particularly near your home, school, babysitter's, friends homes, house of worship or bus stop.  Instruct your child to avoid everyone in these homes and to stay as far away as possible from these locations.

3.  It just isn't safe for a child to walk to or from school unless accompanied by a responsible, trusted adult.

4.  If your child rides the bus to school, make sure he or she has their bus number and home address memorized.

5.  Children require intense, consistent supervision at their bus stop - in the mornings when they leave and in the afternoons when they come home.  Local parents can take turns with this or a neighborhood watch can be formed to provide this layer of protection. 

6.  Make sure your child understands that adults do not need help from children.  Grown-ups aren't supposed to ask children for directions, to find a house, locate a missing pet or anything else. 

7.  Teach your child to never accept a ride from anyone without your permission. 

8.  Children under 12 should not be left at home alone.  However, if this cannot be avoided, teach your child to never tell a stranger when they are home alone. 

9.  If possible, children over the age of 10 can be allowed to have a cell phone to be used in emergencies only.  Make sure that they can direct dial 911, their school, home, their parents' work or a trusted adult nearby.  

 

Polly Franks has served as an advocate for victims of violent crime, particularly childhood sexual abuse, since 1995. Her commitment to this cause stems from her experience as the mother of three children who were endangered by a former neighbor and family friend who turned out to be a convicted sexual predator from another state.  During his crime spree between 1982 to 1998, this predator was linked to a minimum of 286 reported incidents of sexual crimes.  Although she is in a wheelchair, Polly became a licensed private investigator for the sole purpose of bringing ths predator to justice.

He is now in prison serving a life sentence.

Since that time, Polly has testified before Congress and lobbied on Capitol Hill for tougher sex offender laws, such as the nationwide Amber Alert bill and the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act.  Her story was published in Good Housekeeping magazine.  She has been interviewed by the Today Show, Dateline NBC, 20/20, Court TV, the John Walsh Show, ABC World News Tonight, CNN/HLN, Nancy Grace and Fox News.  In addition, she has numerous interviews for national radio programs, as well ans newspaper and magazine articles.  She has shared her story in audiences throughout the country. 

In 2006, Polly created the Franks Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting America's children from sexual predators.  Since that time, the Franks Foundation has been expanded and renamed "It's Not Your Fault," (www.itsnotyourfault.us)

In 2017, her story was published by Vandamere Press in a nonfiction book "Devil at My Door." (www.devilatmydoor.com)

Polly is a graduate of Bluefield College.  She is the very proud mother of three grown daughters, one grandchild, a menagerie of house pets (her four-legged children) and a host of "honorary" sons and daughters.    

 
Polly Franks
Executive Director
It's Not Your Fault
Richmond, VA
804.564.9196