Correcting the Stranger Danger Myth to Avert Tragedy.
Once upon a time Chicken Little was scratching in her garden when a pebble fell off the roof and hit her on the head. "Oh, dear me!" she cried, "The sky is falling. I must go and tell the King," and away she ran down the road.
(Along the way many joined Chicken Little as she urgently rushed to tell the king of the danger.) "Good and wise King, we have come to warn you that the sky is falling!" "How do you know the sky is falling?" asked the King. "Because a piece of it fell on my head," said Chicken Little. "Come nearer, Chicken Little," said the King and leaning from his velvet throne, he picked the pebble from the feathers of Chicken Little's head. "You see it was only a little pebble and not part of the sky at all," said the King. "Go home in peace and do not fear because the sky cannot fall; only rain falls from the sky." Chicken Little
Photo: "You are not going the right way. Shall I show it to you?" said Foxy Loxy. "Oh, certainly," they all answered at once and followed Foxy Loxy, until they came to the door of his cave among the rocks. "This is a short way to the King's Palace; you'll soon get there if you follow me. I will go in first," said Foxy Loxy.' Just as the little feathered folks crowded around the dark narrow hole, eager to follow the sly fox, a little gray squirrel, with very bright eyes, jumped out from behind the bushes and whispered to them: "Don't go in, don't go in, all your little necks he'll wring, and you'll never see the King." Chicken Little
Once upon a time, many years ago, Crime Dog McGruff said, "Strangers are a danger to our children. We must go out and teach all our children "Stranger Danger" and they'll be safe. So they spread the news far and wide.
Millions of dollars were spent to try to ensure every child in the kingdom knew not to talk to strangers. So parents all over the kingdom went to sleep at night thinking, "Our children are safe. We have taught them Stranger Danger." But one day an alert went out all over the kingdom.
"A Boy Scout, Brennan Hawkins, disappeared from a Boy Scout camp in the Utah Mountains. It was four days, the search and rescue teams feared for his life."
Then another news alert: Yes! Brennan was safe! Mothers everywhere shared the joyful moment with Brennan's mother holding him in her arms.
Then she spoke of Brennan's response to his situation. “When an ATV or horse came by, Brennan got off the trail. When they left, he got back on the trail. His biggest fear, he told me, was that someone would steal him. He took our advice a little too literally about avoiding strangers.” A shock wave went across the kingdom. Brennan's parents had taught him about Stranger Danger, so when good people came to help him, he couldn't tell the difference.
Experts scurried to explain this phenomenon. Nancy McBride came forward to present the council's findings. "I am so excited to have this opportunity to say, let's take Stranger Danger and put it in a museum. We need to teach our kids about situations to avoid and be concerned about, not people because we can't tell who the good people and the bad people are. Wouldn't it be great if we could? If we could just point them out?..."
A cloud of sadness blanketed the kingdom. "We can't tell who the bad people are. What are we to do to keep our kids safe?" A bright yellow fellow stepped into the limelight. Waves of whispers washed across the room, he'll know what to do - he's Yello Dyno. "May I suggest a correction? Let's teach our children that it doesn't matter how well you know someone or if they are a stranger. What matters is what they ask you to do. Over 85% of all danger to children can be prevented with right knowledge. If a child feels uncomfortable or unsafe, he should take three steps back and run like the wind and go tell an adult he trusts. I call people who mean kids harm, Tricky People. Over three million children in our kingdom know about Tricky People and they are wiser and safer. Let's teach all our children about Tricky People."
All over the kingdom people were laughing and smiling. Knowing how to teach children safety lifted a weight off their shoulders. Homes were more peaceful and children were not fearful.
In pre-testing conducted in the Spring, 2005, prior to teaching our Yello Dyno Curriculum, we asked the question, "If you are lost, can you ask a stranger for help?" Over 65% of the children answered "no." This is a reflection of the misinformation passed on to our children through Stranger Danger. A confusion that can lead to tragedy. We are fortunate that Boy Scout, Brennan Hawkins, triggered a public acknowledgement that Stranger Danger is an outdated, ineffective form of teaching.
REdS, Research and Educational Services recently conducted an evaluation of the Yello Dyno Curricula with 778 students in public school settings. The students were in K, 1st and 2nd grade. 51.3% were females and the sample was relatively balanced in the three grade levels. The findings show that 80.8% of the students tested demonstrated an increase in knowledge after one cycle of the Yello Dyno Curriculum.
Let's use this opportunity to remove the misconceptions of Stranger Danger by implementing the Yello Dyno Curricula in your district. I look forward to helping you.
Yours for child safety,
Yello Dyno Founder
P.S. Educators, Non-profits, Churches and Law Enforcement: To have a Yello Dyno Curriculum sent to you for a thirty-day review, call me at 888-935-5639 ext. 100 or email me at email@example.com
P.S.S. More information on reviewing our curricula.
Comments? Ideas for future memos? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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