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They went over things like street safety, what to do if a stranger said “hi” and what Elizabeth should do if she ever felt unsafe.Still, for the first few trips, Naomi surreptitiously followed a half-block behind to make sure everything went smoothly until her daughter was walking alone to school and back through their quiet residential neighbourhood. “And then I overrode them.” Elizabeth would be arriving every day, on time, by herself. Last year, with Elizabeth in her final weeks of Grade 3, Naomi got a late-evening phone call from B.“That meant not only were you not at home, but your neighbours weren’t at home,” says Fass, the historian.“There was no one looking out the window and watching your child.Dunlop wondered why they didn’t let Tadhg simply leave; a store manager told him they had a policy that he must stay with security until one of his parents arrived.

“It seemed there was no place that was safe.” In fact, horror-story stranger abductions are exceedingly rare in both Canada and the U. In 2017, of more than 47,000 missing children reports Canada-wide, only 27 were attributed to an abduction by a stranger, according to the RCMP’s National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, and in this case a “stranger” could be a family friend, a neighbour or someone known to the family who isn’t a relative.

The visceral power of such scenarios induces extreme responses among adults who see children left alone—and no assemblage of data is going to change their minds.

Hands-off parents, as a result, don’t always get the benefit of the doubt.

Months later, Naomi got a call from the school, which goes up to Grade 3. She did so for more than a year without incident, save one occasion when Naomi got a call from a teacher relaying concerns from a parent who’d seen Elizabeth take one foot off the curb and between two parked cars while she peeked at a cat. C.’s Ministry of Child and Family Development, who set up a face-to-face meeting to itemize a list of concerns that Naomi describes as “ridiculous.” An anonymous tipster reported seeing Elizabeth about to cross the street, but stepping back up on the sidewalk in a way that suggested she felt unsafe.

They weren’t comfortable, she was told, with students walking to or from school without adult supervision. It was something Naomi says she taught her daughter to do, adding bitterly: “That was sent in as a concern because it looked like she didn’t know how to cross the street.” Not much came of the visit, Kendrick says, except that she and her husband now think twice when they’re out in the backyard and see a neighbour looking out the window, especially since they still don’t know who made the anonymous complaint.

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