In light of recent events in Salem, police officials and schools are reminding students and parents to be safe when walking to school and back home. 

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has given some tips about how to stay safe. Parents should make sure to go over the route back home with their student so they know where to look for the child or teen if they don’t come home at a normal time.

Parents should also let kids know where safe places are and that they should avoid shortcuts through alleys or secluded areas.

Some ways a person can avoid a suspicious looking man or woman is to either call 911 until you are safe or stay on a call with a parent or friend and keep telling them exactly where you are in case of an emergency.

If the suspect is in a car, make sure to stay at least an adult’s arm length away from the vehicle and if the car is following you, run in the opposite direction that the car is facing.

Strangers who are trying to lure children will most likely ask for them to get into the car for help with directions or claim to know their parents. The child or teen should loudly shout no and run in the opposite direction.

Another safe way to make sure you aren’t being stalked, is to not take the same route home every day. Normally, stalkers and other criminals plan their actions and record where the victim goes home every day. Talk with students about two or three routes they can take instead.

Kids and teens should also listen to their gut when it comes to being out in public. If something doesn’t feel right, get out of the situation.