Disaster can strike at any moment, with anyone around, and too quickly for authorities to become involved. At that moment, you and the people around you have to make quick decisions to avoid something catastrophic from taking place, but do you trust yourself to do that? Could you jump into action when needed?
I believe that everyone is capable of acting on instinct when the time comes, including those you wouldn't think would have to—such as a group of middle school children who prevented a crisis from going down..
Having demonstrated their boldly courageous actions in the face of danger, it's time to explore the wonders of the universe.
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Out Of Your Hands
When raising a child, you must put a lot of trust in the systems that watch over them when they're out of your direct care. Be that schools, daycares, an in-home babysitter, or otherwise, you have to have faith they'll get to and from location A to B safe and sound.
What happens when one incident throws that all on its head, leaving both parents and kids scared for weeks to come? Who can you trust to keep your child safe? As it turns out, the answer might lie in their classmates.
Jamaal Germany is a 30-year-old man from Gaithersburg, Maryland, who, earlier this year, attempted to kidnap a child from a nearby bus stop. While some students of Redland Middle School were waiting for their bus in the early morning, Germany grabbed one of them and attempted to pull them toward an apartment building that stood close to the stop, presumably the one in which he lived.
He likely wasn't expecting to be immediately stopped by a group of bystanders.
To The Rescue
Bystanders who all happened to be classmates of this near-victim.
That's right; a group of other students who were also waiting at the stop jumped in immediately to intervene, creating enough physical commotion that the victim was able to break free. Germany ran from the scene immediately after.
The kids were able to board the bus safely. When they arrived at school, they reported the incident to the school's Community Engagement Officer as soon as they could.
An investigation followed swiftly after, and thankfully, they were able to identify Germany as the suspect and apprehend him.
He was taken into custody for attempted kidnapping, and the last reports on the matter noted that he was still locked up at Montgomery County Correctional Facility.
The news initially broke due to a joint letter sent from the principals at Resnik Elementary, Redland Middle School, and Magruder High School in which they informed students' parents about what occurred.
"We are writing to share information related to a serious incident that impacted our community today, Monday, March 20 and how it was addressed," the letter read. “This morning, there was an attempted abduction of a Redland Middle School student at the bus stop located at the intersection of Towne Crest Drive and Towne Crest Court. An individual tried to pull a student into a residence, but the student was able to get away and board the school bus as it arrived. The student is unharmed. The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) was immediately notified, investigated the incident, and identified a suspect who was taken into custody.”
Authorities also encouraged anyone else who believes they may have been a victim or attempted victim of Germany to come forward.
Not The First
According to an NBC Washington report, an anonymous neighbor reported that this isn't the man's first time trying something like this. A parent of a local high school student shared that an attempted kidnapping had taken place at the same spot just the week before. "Apparently he was at the bus stop last week doing the same thing." The parent said.
The public school board requested police to provide security at the location of the attempted kidnappings.
Thankfully, all the students involved in the incident were safe and completely unharmed (save for being spooked by what took place.)
The county police department did agree to provide security in that area until everything with Germany was sorted out and he was properly charged.
Until then, the school also offered social-emotional support programs for any students who were either involved or were generally spooked by the news so they could continue feeling safe coming to school.
Something like this happening not only in your child's proximity but to your child themselves is absolutely terrifying. It took incredible bravery from that group of children to jump into action immediately upon seeing one of their peers in danger and effectively scare away a predator is something they should be rewarded for.
This story serves as a reminder that you can sometimes never be too careful, and even if it means a few more minutes out of your day, making sure your child arrives at school safely will leave you both feeling better.