Former Metro Detroit police detective offers survival skills to keep students safe when heading back to school

Tips offered for keeping kids safe as they head back to school


DETROIT – Parents getting their children ready to return to school should include a refresher course on how to protect themselves when they're not at home.

Former Detroit Police investigator Tom Berry said there are skills parents can teach their children.

The first is develop a password for your child.

"Sit down with your children and develop a password, so if anyone comes up to that child when they're walking to or from school or the store, 'Hey I'm here,your moms been in an accident, your dads been in an accident." If that person doesn't say the password, then I'm not getting in that car, and I'm running like heck, I'm running away," said Berry.

The second is teach children to never walk alone.

"We've always said the buddy system is the best way to go and if anything does happen, scream and run.Yell as loud as you can and run as fast as you can," said parent Cary Sample.

Berry said skill number three is to make a lot of noise if something does happen.

"What you want to do if someone approaches you is you want to make as much noise as possible. you want to scream, yell, rant and rave, run to a neighbor's house, especially if your by yourself," said Berry.

The fourth skill is to teach children to fight for their lives.

"If they get you in that car, your chances of being recovered are slim and none. So, if somebody grabs you when your walking down the street, you bite, you kick them. If it's a man you kick him in the groin as hard as you can, and you scream scream, scream scream scream and you don't stop screaming until you can't scream no more," said Berry.

Parents should walk with their children on their route to school, teach them to stay away from vacant buildings and avoid being alone at bus stops.

That's not the only place Berry recommends children avoid.

"Gas stations, and party stores, is a bad thing because who hangs out there? Usually the adult man hangs out there, the people that don't want go to school, the people that are looking to get you in trouble," said Berry. "Tell your kids, you want a snack after school, have some pop at home, have some ice cream at home, some cookies, have macaroni and cheese at home. Don't go to the party stores, don't go to the gas stations that have party stores on the way home, you're only going to invite yourself to get into trouble."

Parents told Local 4 it's so important to be involved with what their children are doing and to talk to their kids about their safety.

"My rule at my house is to call when you get in from school," said Brenda Humbles. "No one in the home, and we also, they also have to make phone calls if they're leaving or when they come home from school."

Matt Jakubik said children are dealing with a lot more these deals and that parents need to talk to them early and let them know they can talk to their parents.

"Know who you're talking to, if you don't know someone make sure there are adults around you," said Jakubik.