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State Essay Contest Winner

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Isabella as the 2023 Florida Missing Children's Day State Essay Contest Winner.  Ms. Isabella's state winning essay is below. The essay contest is open to all 5th grade students in Florida. Information regarding the essays are generally sent to the schools in December and the essay deadline is in March. For more information regarding the essay contest, please contact

Girl Playing with Tablet

How I Stay Safe All Day

"Hey kid, can you help me find my puppy?” a man says. He is asking you. What should
you decide to do? He might be deceiving you so he can take you. You should not tell or let them see your personal information, and you should find an opportunity to run away. The most important thing to say is NO! Never ever say that you will go help the stranger find the puppy. These are a few ways to stay safe.

The first way that you can stay safe all day is to get away from your might-be future
abductor, and to go to a certain place to get away. KidSmartz says,”NCMEC’s review revealed
one extremely important fact: 83% of children escaped their would-be abductors by doing
something proactive.” You can definitely kick and scream to get away from your would-be
abductor. If you successfully get away in a crowded area, find a police officer or a family with
children as fast as possible. If you find a family with children or a police officer, ask them to call
your family quickly. You also need to tell them to give information to your parents about where you are.

The second way you can stay safe all day is to not provide your personal information by
wearing anything with your name on it. The abductor can use it as an advantage. One way that they could deceive you is to use the parent friend hoax. They could do this at a pickup line. If they see your name on your backpack, they might say to the pickup person that they are picking you up. You would be much more vulnerable to believe that they are actually your parent’s friend. Then, you would be abducted once you got in the car. The last example is for the help trick. If you have an armband with your name on it, an abductor might see it, and go towards you. They would probably ask you if they could help you with something. Since they saw your name on your armband, they would respond by your name. Likely, you will believe them if they respond by your name, so you would probably think that they actually lost something. Then, they would lead you into the car. They would drive away with you in the car, and you would be abducted. Not sharing your personal information by not wearing things with your name on them is a good way to stay safe.

The last tip about staying safe all day is to say the word, no, to the abductor. Let’s pretend
that an abductor came up to you saying that you can get ice cream if you get in his car. You’re
feeling like you can’t make a decision. Instead of saying okay, say no instead. Say that you need permission from your parents if you can get the ice cream. You just stopped your would-be abductor from tricking you. Another example is to say no if someone comes up to you and says that there is an emergency with your family. They might tell you that they can escort you to the area where it is happening. You have to resist the trick, and say no in case they are tricking you. Your family might not be in an emergency at all. You can tell them that you can’t go with them. You just stopped another trick. I am betting you that you would make the right decision to say no to the abductor. This is definitely a way to stay safe all day.

There are many ways to stay safe all day. You can try to get away, and find a good place
to go. You also do not provide information about yourself by not wearing things with your name on them. You can also just simply say no to the might-be abductor. What will you say to the man that lost his dog?

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