I’m often asked when people see the sign on the back of my car, “Ok, what’s an Alert Adult?” Knowing that phrase can mean many things, and I generally don’t have time to go into a long explanation about it. I simply say, “An Alert Adult, in this context, is one who has been educated in the behaviors of sexual predators and can identify those behaviors when they are displayed around children.” That, of course, is a simple answer and most of the time ends the conversation. Not that I want to end the conversation…but the people I’m speaking to generally do.
I always find it interesting the level of discomfort people have when talking about sexual predators and children, and that discomfort is added value to a predator. As long as their behavior is a hush-hush topic, predators feel free to boldly pursue their goals—the exploitation of kids!
What is the value of being an Alert Adult? A homeschool parent attended one of our recommended “Keeping Them Safe©” trainings at her church. A few months after the training, a new family joined her homeschool co-op group. The father of this new family suggested that he could take all of the boys of a certain age to his home, outside of the regular meeting times, for activities. He explained that this would be a drop-off situation and he highly discouraged parental attendance. He positioned it as a great opportunity for the moms to have some “mom time”. As a result of the training, a red flag went up for this homeschooling mom. The father was a charming man and some of the moms in the group saw this as a great opportunity to go shopping or have lunch with friends. That is, of course, until the homeschooling mom went to the board and explained why this was a potentially dangerous situation. The father was approached by one of the leaders and told that he was welcome to plan activities for the boys but, because of the group’s policy, the activities such as he was suggesting would need to take place in the gym where the group met and during co-op hours. The family did not show up at the next co-op session and dropped out of the group.
There were no accusations or unpleasant confrontations. Unfortunately, a homeschool group, like any group where children gather, is fertile territory for a predator interested in children. However, with her new awareness of how predators condition adults and children, this alert mom was able to see past the charm to the potential danger. At Alert Adults, we feel it is imperative that all homeschool groups, as well as other groups and clubs where children gather, be educated in the behaviors of sexual predators.
For more information, go to www.alertadults.org.