Kids get a kick out of safety

Fourth-graders at the Beatrice Gilmore School have learned how to fend off abductors in a 10-hour course offered through the Passaic County Sheriff's Department.

At Friday's demonstration for parents, students such as Jenine Abdelgader, pictured above left, donned a protective helmet, gloves, and kneepads to fend off sheriff's Officer Robert Scott, who wore his own protective gear as he played the role of abductor.

The r.a.d.KIDS program coaches children to "resist aggression defensively" by facing potential kidnappers with loud screams and strategically aimed kicks and punches.

As Scott tried to lure each child with comments such as, "Your parents aren't here, and they told me to pick you up," sheriff's Officer Herb Krygsman, the program's coordinator, prepped each child to kick Scott in vulnerable areas and scream as loud as they can.

"No, get away! You're not my mom!" kids yelled.

Ambar Rodriguez, right, gets a pat of encouragement on her effort.

The program, offered to schools and children's groups across the country since its founding in 1998, is free. For more information or to schedule the r.a.d.KIDS program in your school or community, contact Krygsman at 973-389-5920.

-- Theodora Ravago and Suzanne Travers


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