Your child gets ready for school, no doubt fussing over the clothing you have selected and struggling through all the steps of the morning routine. If they ride the bus they are probably anxious about the wait at the bus stop, getting onboard, selecting a seat, and hoping the ride to school is extra long! For the duration of the trip to school, your child is in the care of a single adult, the bus driver. Some school districts may have additional support and supervision via onboard video cameras or chaperones. However, for most children, the only adult responsible is the driver. Once they disembark from the bus your child is now under the care of teachers, staff, and administrators at the school site. Their safety and well being are under the direct care of several adults who will shuttle them to and from various locations throughout the school day.

Passing your child off to several adults is much like running a relay race. Each runner must pass the baton to their teammate. Should the baton get dropped, the team is in peril of not winning the race. We pass our children from person to person, adult to adult each day. We very often are not overly familiar with each adult our children come into contact with. Do we know the first and last name of the bus driver and how long they have driven a bus? Are we familiar with each teacher at school, each custodial staff member, each administrative person? All of these professionals are tasked with not dropping the safety of our children. We can empower our little ones to learn how to use their resources like teachers, administrators, and staff with know-how skills. We can empower our children to learn names, faces, places of safety, and important numbers to call in case of emergency. Like runners in a race, it is important that we all do our part to run the race that is the safety and security of our children to the best of our ability. We must perform like professionals and not let any adult drop the baton and allow our children to be put into danger. With a little time, preparation, and good old-fashioned attention to detail, we can all work together to create a positive atmosphere for our children to grow.

Children can learn to use the resources around them if we allow them to. I use a popular drill that teaches children to create a presence with their voices and bodies when in distress. Let’s face it, children know how to do this well without any formal training! I use a system that allows children to learn how to dial 911, to know their addresses, begin to get familiar with the names of the adults in their lives, and how to spot a safe place versus a potential danger. It’s not the responsibility of the child and the child alone to safeguard their security. It is the job of all of us running the race, passing the baton (our children) to ensure that the race is won and that our most precious resource, our children, are kept from harm. •

Michael Chamberland, owner of The EDGE Martial Arts Academy in Milton, is a full-time employee with Jobs for Delaware Graduates, a nonprofit company assisting area youth with career training and college placement as well as GED credentials for those who do not finish traditional high school. He has been training in martial arts for sixteen years under the guidance of Grandmaster R. Anthony Kemmerlin in Milford. Michael is a certified international law enforcement trainer and a member of the martial arts teaching association. He resides with his wife, Jamie, in Milton. He may be reached at 302-242-5891 or

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