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Teach kids practical skills for dealing with gun violence


This tactical tip follows on the theme of my column from last week. Not only should law enforcement parents — again, all parents really — be actively teaching our kids to be Sheepdogs (rather than sheep), but we should also be giving them the tools to quickly recognize and respond to the approaching wolf. 

Cops understand the benefit of scenario-based training. It applies to kids, too. Don’t just tell your kids what you need them to do if they are with you off duty and a critical incident arises. Practice it with them. 

Kidpower” — a non-profit dedicated to helping children build the skills and confidence to take charge of their own safety — recommends practicing with kids what you want them to do in the face of potential or real gun violence. Their suggestions include:

•    Practice getting away from a weapon quickly and calmly. Have kids pretend to notice a weapon in a backpack (or elsewhere) and then practice calmly leaving.
•    Give kids permission to lie or break promises as needed to be safe, get away, and get help. Pretend you’re someone who is angry, upset, or joking around with a weapon. Let kids practice lies like, “Yeah, it’s a cool gun, I won’t tell anyone you have it,” so they can get away safely to get help.
•    Practice awareness and response. At different locations, calmly decide with kids where ‘safety’ would be if someone were shooting, and then let them practice running there and getting help to be safe.

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