School children taught to evade
It was a lesson in the scary realities of being a child in the 21st century.
The Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe visited South Tahoe Middle School Tuesday, teaching sixth-graders techniques to escape an abduction.
Students lined up for their chance to escape a car by yelling, honking the horn and scrambling to the back seat where they could open the door.
Another exercise taught students to scream, kick and make noise if they’re put in the trunk of a car. Students wearing jackets were told to throw them in the trunk jam, which would hopefully create suspicion in motorists’ minds.
Most sixth-graders appreciated a move to escape a wrist grab. By twisting their body and arm, children could get away from a tight adult grip.
“We’ve had several actual abductions in our town and several attempted,” said Barbara Davis, a Soroptimist member and assistant superintendent of Lake Tahoe Unified School District. “We want our children safe. We’re teaching them the skills that empower them so they won’t become victims.”
Davis said the program started in fourth and fifth grades, later expanded to third grade and has recently included sixth-graders.
Madeline Whilden said she received escape lessons in third grade and from South Lake Tahoe police officer Rebecca Inman.
“What if that really happened?” Madeline asked. “If that really happened you think, ‘Am I going to get shot or stabbed?’ It’s really scary.”
Jennifer Prax remembered getting training in fourth and fifth grade. Before moving to South Lake Tahoe, Prax was a student in San Jose where she didn’t learn any moves.
“It’s a city so they don’t care if you get kidnapped,” she said.
Ryan Jones said he would remember the “hand thing” the most during an attempted abduction.
Strong trunk-kicker Sadie Richards, 11, believed she wouldn’t remember the lessons during a real abduction.
“It was weird and dark in there,” Richards said. “There wouldn’t be much of a chance to put your jacket out. They would be pushing too much.”
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