It’s important to rethink the concept of Stranger Danger and instead to teach Stranger
Awareness – that strangers are just people that you don’t know well (even if they appear Jewish or look and act really “nice”). Most kids assume if an adult looks Jewish they are not a stranger.
This can be dangerous to a child’s safety. Children need to learn that a stranger is anyone they don’t’ know well despite what they look or act like. In addition, most kids will think that a Safe Stranger is only a JEWISH Mother with Children. This is not the case and should be told to the students. Statistically, a Mother with Children is the best option across the board and only looking for a Jewish mother may hinder a child’s safety.
When discussing looking for a Safe Stranger, reinforce staying in a public place where everyone can see them and not running around the store or leaving the area, i.e. going to the parking lot or where the car was parked, a back room, etc.
Sara really wanted to go the park and her mommy was very busy cooking and cleaning for Shabbos. Her mommy asked her older sister Aviva to please take her. Sara felt super excited, because she loves going to the park with Aviva. Aviva went to sit down on a bench and told Sara to play in one area of the park where she could see her. Sara was having a great time, sliding and running and jumping. While Sara was swinging on the monkey bars she saw some children she recognized from school all the way on the other side by the jungle gym area. She looked over to Aviva and Aviva was on her phone talking to her friend very loudly. Sara was confused and had to stop and take a deep breath. Sara then had to think how she was feeling. She was feeling a little confused and unsure. She really did not want to interrupt her sister’s phone call and make Aviva mad, and she knew how to get to the jungle gym. Sara thinks she can just go
since if she is able to see her sister, she is sure her sister is able to see her.
Let’s try another example. Shlomo was with his parents in the airport because his family was going on a special family vacation to Israel. While his parents were talking to the person behind the ticket counter, Shlomo saw a huge airplane behind the window, a little further away from his parents. Shlomo’s favorite part of going on trips is watching the planes landing and taking off at the airport. Shlomo thought to himself “I don’t want to bother my parents. It’s not derech eretz; it’s rude. I will just walk over to watch that plane and be right back. If I can see the window from where I am standing now, then my parents will be able to see me.”
Describe a shul scene where kids are playing together. One boy needs to use the restroom and leaves the group of friends to go alone. This is not a good idea as there is safety in numbers. The answer is to take a buddy with you.
This lesson is easy to reinforce. Whenever you go on a field trip or match kids up in a “buddy-system” discuss how this is the “Two Is Better Than One” rule. Express to the students the importance of not being alone and always making sure they take someone with them. Having a buddy is not only safer, but much more fun!
The way a predator gains access to children is by a process known as grooming. Grooming is the tactic of gradually and methodically
building trust with a child – and the adults around them – to gain increased access and alone time with their future victim. Grooming
allows predators to gain significant advantages, such as reducing disclosure, reducing the likelihood of the child being believed, reducing
detection, manipulating adult perception of the child, and convincing the child into being a cooperative participant. In each element of the
grooming process, the predator will also use their ability to charm and be likeable; it’s the most effective way to get a child to trust them, and also the easiest way for adults to be unassuming at first, and possibly even support the molester during allegations. The following lesson encompasses rules to avoid falling victim to the manipulative process of grooming.
Below you will find the specific rules, which must be taught as a standard to follow in all situations. Telling a child that certain individuals, such as grandma or a close friend are okay causes confusion, as the child may decide others are okay as well. In addition, the children should be reminded to apply the skills learned in Lesson 1 by knowing to Tell a Star Adult on their Safety Star chart how they felt about situations when they may have made a wrong decision as well as times when they made the correct choice of getting the OK from their Grown-Up in charge.
This lesson is extremely important, as the situations discussed are precursors used to groom a child and can potentially lead to an
abuse situation. If we can get students to be savvy and avoid situations that put them in danger we can use prevention to its fullest capacity. Therefore, it is crucial that you ensure every student understands this lesson.
The most important component to stress is that even if a child does not say STOP or NO, he/she should Tell a Trusted Adult and there is no time limit on the Tell.
Just like these rules have to be followed with regards to our own bodies, the same goes for us not being allowed to touch, look at, or talk about someone else’s private parts.
This is important to explain as a predator may not touch the
child, but will rather have the child touch them.
This rule is for everybody, even a cousin, uncle, grandmother, brother, sister or friend. No one is allowed to touch, look at or talk about your private parts because your body belongs to you. (Have students hold their thumbs in air while pointing to their chest and say in a loud voice together “my body belongs to me”)
Now, there are times when an adult is allowed to look at or touch the private areas of your body.
A doctor’s visit (show teaching card of doctor’s visit). A doctor may have to check your body to make sure that you are healthy but, it’s allowed because mommy or somebody else who takes care of you, is in the room and it’s never a secret. Secrets about private
parts are never ok.
Another example could be if you are hurt or have pain in an area that’s private. Your mommy or caregiver will have to check to help you but, it’s not a secret. Secrets about private parts are never ok.
These are examples of what we call Safe Touches (show pic of safe touches). A Safe Touch will make you feel happy, comfortable, and safe. An Unsafe touch is one that can make you feel confused, unhappy or maybe sad.
Be aware of cultural differnces that may be a factor in regards to showing affection to family members. Children from these backrounds need to practice telling their parents and guardians how they feel about showing affection when they do not feel like showing it.
This lesson may bring up questions that can be difficult. Try not to dismiss anything or get flustered if a child says something that sounds like a disclosure or something to look into more. Answer questions as fully as you are able and then tell the child you will find out what you don’t know. Contact our office or another professional for any questions you need help answering. To handle a disclosure or make a report, please consult the last section of this manual.
What is the difference between a secret that is Unsafe and a secret that is Safe, like a surprise. Let’s say it’s your mom’s birthday and you want to plan a surprise party for her. You don’t want her to know so you keep all the details of the party a secret. What do you think? Is this a safe secret or an unsafe secret? (Elicit answers about why this secret is safe) That’s right. It’s a safe secret since eventually, when it’s time for the party, your mother will find out about the secret, there is an ending to the secret and everyone will be happy.
Anytime anyone asks us to keep a secret that makes us feel upset or confused, we must Tell a trusted adult. Anytime anyone asks us to keep a secret about our private parts we must Tell a trusted adult. Even if the person gives you something, a gift or a treat, or the person says, “don’t’ tell”, that’s a clue that you MUST TELL. That’s right, any time an adult or child tells you to keep a secret from your trusted adults it is not safe and you need to go Tell someone on your Safety Star. Even if the person who tells you the secret is your best friend, or a family member and says you will get in trouble, you must Tell. Even if you don’t tell right away and a few weeks or months go by, you should go and Tell a Star Adult on your Safety Star Chart.
Remember, the Star Adults on your Star Safety Chart arethere to keep you happy and feeling safe. They can only do that when you share your feelings with them
This lesson can be used in different ways inside the classroom. Often times teachers create projects as a surprise for a parent. Bringing in the question is it a Safe or Unsafe Secret is a great way to engage the kids in what that means. Predators thrive on secrecy and the fact that most kids do not tell. Most children hold onto the secret of being abused for many years sometimes never telling or only telling in their adulthood. While hearing a disclosure and figuring out the right steps to take can be extremely difficult, having the child hold onto such a toxic secret can be life threatening for that child.
Laws vary from state to state. It may be child protective services, a department of family and child services of your county, or law
enforcement. If you suspect the offender is in the child’s home call child protective services. If a child is in imminent danger call the police.
*If the child does not readily supply this information, do not continue to question or investigate. It could interfere later with the investigation. Remember you do not need proof of abuse only reasonable suspicion.
Even though your report may not result in legal action, the investigation may cause other services to take place, like counseling or the provision of necessities for the child.
Sometimes the investigating professionals may not be able to gather enough evidence to act on your report. Still, your report may become part of a series of reports that can lead to an action later.
1. The Shomrei Neshamos League And The Safety Mission
Shani Verschleiser and Sarit Rubensteinn safe
2. Lauren’s Kingdom
3. Let’s Stay Safe
4. Talking About Private Places
5. Uncle Willie Tickles
6. Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
By Jayneen Sanders