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What's in your safety talk?

On a day like today, there will be kids of all ages on the streets of all neighborhoods.  When I was growing up, I was indoctrinated with the idea that there were syringes in my Halloween candy.  All our items needed to be screened by adults first.  Then, there was the year that bad things got so bad in the candy batches and the year that the teenagers were not only throwing eggs but also broken glass bottles -- that I was only allowed to go to "Safe Streets", the area in the neighborhood where all households were somehow certified "safe" and cops were at every corner.  From that year on, I recall that I was only allowed to go to "Safe Streets" for our trick or treating.

Our added twist to Halloween this year in Portland is that Jack McClellan is in our midst, and he has re-launched his website, posting the best places to watch girls in Portland.

What things do you tell your children so they know what is "safe" and what is not?  What precautions do you take for yourselves to be most aware of the community around you?  We have had some great suggestions on a previous conversation, "Knowing is Half the Battle", but we would love to hear more...

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I think it is very important that we work together as parents, and swiftly to keep this guy from running this website. He has proven extremely dangerous even if he "never lays a hand on a little girl". His website clearly led to the adduction, rape and murder of Adre'anna Jackson. We need to work quickly to address this problem. Make sure every mom and dad you know know who Jack McClellan is.

Does anybody know what is neighborhood is? So very, very creepy....

Woops -- I meant "his" address is...

More than you wanted to know:
His email is jmccellan@fastmail.fm
His PHONE # is (310) 266 1452
His Add is 475 NW Glisan

He posts it on his website! Can't imagine why he thinks that is a good idea...

The guy openly admits to scoring marajuana on the streets of Oregon,on more than one occasion. Seems a bit illegal to me, huh? And maybe a bit unstable. Anyway, I'm not planning on thinking of any of this tonight and I am going to enjoy myself. I know there is a registered sex offender in my neighborhood. We will not go to his house. I have always been under the direction since childhood to only go to the homes of people I know. Not that you can always trust people you know...and I was never allowed to go unsupervised probably until I was 10 or older...even in the 1970s when the world was considered "safe." The truth is, people look at our children every day. Who knows if the kindly old man who tells us how cute our toddler is, is a pedophile, who just likes to look at kids? The most important thing is that our kids know what to do if approached, or if they feel the least bit uncomfortable in a situation, or if God forbid something happens to them. They need to know that they can tell us anything. And once more, please use anatomically correct language with your children. I can't stress that enough!

Everyone please have a happy and fun Halloween, in addition to being safe! :)

I was having a conversation with my 4 year old about not getting into cars or going anywhere with strangers. After a few minutes pause, she asked "Well, what about Santa?" Gasp! "Noooooooo! Do NOT go anywhere with Santa!" I explained that there may be bad people out there dressed as Santa who might want to hurt her. Then she thought about it and said "Well only the real Santa would bring presents, right?"

This is not a conversation I ever imagined having with my child, but it shows just how innocent and trusting they are.

I worry about striking the right balance between innocence and safety - trying hard to keep childhood as innocent as I think it should be while also enusirng their safety. So important. At this point in my kids's lives they are never without an adult - us or other very trusted parents, so I still have some time! If anyone is interested in submitting a letter to the editor or to the Portland Police, we can do that over on Activistas. Not sure how effective that would be, but sometimes it is helpful to those concerned to do something, express our concern, even if there is very little potential for direct impact. What is so scary to me about this case is that it highlights all the activities out there that aren't illegal but often lead atraight to illegal actions that were so predictable. If anyone's interested in one of these ideas - or if you have another! - say so and we can get it together on Activistas. Happy & safe Halloween, all!

FYI -- That address is for the Transition Project -- a homeless shelter/community service agency where homeless people may live temporarily. They may also simply use this as an address. So, he really could be living anywhere. If you look at Multnomah County's Predatory Sex Offender website, there are many sex offenders who have this as their address -- most of those with a 97209 zip code. Others have 123 W. Burnside, which is another transitional housing project.

OK -- I have to stop thinking about this now.

I think it is an excellent reminder to think about who is around you when you are out and about. It takes the unspoken, as undoubtedly there are people doing such things without us knowing, and makes it spoken. It provides insight into how much thinking/planning goes on with pedophiles and all of the justifications they try to use for what they do (referring to "anti-pedophiles"!).

I don't know if there are still scares of razor blades in apples or broken glass in candy. But what I do know with certainty is that one out of every five treats that my almost four-year old son receives tonight could kill him. Yes, he's one of those food allergy kids. So when you ask, "What's in your safety talk?" That's easy. We've been prepping for this night for a month. When we get home, we'll sort through his treat bag together, trading chocolate bars and other trigger foods for safe treats. He's been taught to say "No thank you." when offered any food without us checking it first. He announces to anyone who will listen, "I'm allergic to nuts." And we don't go anywhere without his EpiPen.

Those who are not affected by severe food allergies may not be aware that they are deadly. The family on last week's Today Show episode can attest. Their 13-year old was dead in 20 minutes. So for me, a bowl of nuts, a candy bar, or an uneducated child or parent is just as scary as the hidden syringe.

Check My Tag, We also have a three year old with severe nut allergies. Halloween has become terrifying for us! We prepared our daughter so much that trick-or-treating wasn't very fun for her. We had friends in the neighborhood ready for us with safe candy on hand. Even so, she was nervous. We worry that one of her preschool friends will bring something dangerous to school, so we remind her daily that she needs to check with us before eating anything. I worry everyday about her safety so this is just another bump in the road. Thanks for bringing up this important topic. Pedophiles and peanuts, this Halloween discussion is scarier than any haunted house I've seen!

remember most kids are molested by a trusted adult, not Jack McClellan. A friend's dad, a cousin, an activity staff person.

most registered sex offenders cannot secure housing, so they're roaming the streets, couch surfing and are out there where no one knows where they are. There are a handful of transitional housing programs in Old Town that accept sex offenders. So you will get more hits in "97209".

You really have to watch everyone. And continue to reinforce that your child is the owner and operator of their own bodies. Everyone is not going to be as obviously as disgusting as McClellan.

She has never gone trick or treating without an adult. Maybe next year when she's 13 she can go with friends. I trick or treated alone on a my block at age 5 in the 70's. I was such a paranoid kid that I threw out a brownie made by my friend's mom cause I was worried about razor blades.

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