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It is a dangerous world. Crime is out of hand and violence continues to spread. In cities across America more and more people are afraid to walk the streets at night and children are prey when they go to school in the morning.

On an Oprah show it was demonstrated how vulnerable children are to abduction. Children, who were taught not to speak with strangers were filmed walking off with a stranger (one of the program's staff members). Yes, these were children whose parents taught them "better".

No community is immune from life's harsh realities, just read your local newspaper. But in one town they are doing something about it! At Glyndon Elementary School in Maryland, parents know their children arrived safely at school because of a PTA sponsored program called Child Check.

Although Child Check cannot prevent abductions, it gives the school, and more importantly law enforcement agencies, a "heads up" in case the unthinkable happens. And all it takes to administer Child Check is an answering machine, some volunteers and the cooperation of parents. Yes, Child Check is a simple program. Yet it helps ensure parents that their children are safe and sound at school. Glyndon's Child Check works like this...

When the school closes for the day (4pm - 7am) an answering machine is turned on. If a child gets sick during the night, or will be absent from school for some other reason the next day, parents call the answering machine. They state their name, child's name, child's teacher's name, the date(s) of absence and the reason for the absence. The call takes less than a minute!

The next day, volunteers at the school review the previous night's answering machine's tape, compare it with the attendance roster and the secretary's list of children with prior absence approval. Then the parents of any child not accountable is contacted for verification of absence. That's it!

If a child is discovered missing authorities can be immediately notified. Without Child Check, a child would not be discovered missing until six hours later--enough time for the abductor to be hundreds of miles away with the child!

Fortunately, Glyndon Elementary has never been in a position that it had to notify authorities of a missing child. But if it ever does, at least they will have an extra six hour jump to catch the perpetrator. And in cases such as this, time is of the essence.

Live And Learn - giving children a head start on tomorrow!

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