The aunt of murdered Langford teen Kimberly Proctor is seeking to launch a provincewide safety awareness program for students.
Jo-Anne Landolt, 42, started seeking school safety programs in the aftermath of Proctor’s death on March 18, 2010, by two male classmates who are serving life in prison.
Landolt wants to give students the chance her niece never had through the Kids in the Know, a program developed by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. To fund the program for school districts across the province, she’s in the running for a $150,000 Aviva Community Fund grant.
It won’t be easy. Landolt’s idea is competing against several hundred entries pitched from across Canada and will go through several rounds of online voting. Winners will be selected in January 2012.
If she wins, the grant wouldn’t cover the costs to bring the program to all 60 school districts, but she’s planning to target areas with the highest crime rates first. Kids in the Know offers detailed lesson plans on safety and awareness at home, on the street and on the Internet, with learning collateral geared from kindergarten to Grade 8.
“It talks about listening to your intuition, about healthy and unhealthy relationships,” Landolt said. “After what happened, I thought this needed to be taught in schools.
“There were different safety issues with what happened to (Kimberly),” she continued. “There was Internet safety, there was luring that happened. They said she was an easy target. (Her texting) showed she had doubts about meeting them.”
If Landolt is granted funding, there will still be a lot of work to implement Kids in the Know throughout the province. Some may need convincing. Many schools have Internet safety in their curriculum, but she doubts most have a comprehensive program.
“Every school should have something like this. Internet safety may be in the curriculum, but what about other aspects of safety?” she said. “Healthy and unhealthy relationships may spill over into the Internet. Luring spills over into the Internet too.”
Landolt said teachers have helped test the program at her home district of Maple Ridge to positive acclaim. “Teachers said it was straight forward, that there wasn’t extra training needed. And there are lessons kids can take home, so parents can get more involved, hopefully.”
Landolt is also lobbying the Ministry of Education and the premier’s office to fund and distribute the Kids in the Know program across the province.
“It’s up to individual teachers, but if school boards support it and approve it, that may encourage teachers to use it,” she said.
To see and to vote on Landolt’s proposal, see www.avivacommunityfund.org and search for idea number “11490” or search for “School Safety Program For Kids”.
For more on Kids in the Know, see www.kidsintheknow.ca.