Law enforcement stresses importance of social media safety and identifying signs of crisis in kids

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — This week, a student at Sparkman Ninth Grade School left school in an attempt to run away. Paxton Glenn, 14, had used other students’ cell phones to plan her escape and had even talked to friends about wanting to leave home.

“There are so many people that said they saw this coming,” her father, William Glenn, said before she’d been found. “That she had said she may run away, that she said she wasn’t happy at home, but no one reached out to an administrator, no one reached out to a parent, no one called us, no one called the police.”

Paxton is safely home now, but law enforcement wants to remind parents to talk to their kids about the signs that someone might get themselves into trouble.

“If you have a friend who’s talking about being depressed at home or being depressed in general, and they feel the only way out is for them to run away, don’t let them have that opportunity,” stated Lt. Donny Shaw with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

Talk to your kids about how if they think someone might do something dangerous, they need to tell someone who can help.

“If they don’t feel comfortable coming to us, they can go to an SRO, a teacher, a counselor, one of their coaches.” Shaw continued. “There’s somebody out there they can confide in.”

And for parents of children with cell phones, have a constant conversation about social media safety. Don’t let your kids loan their phones and devices to friends for whatever reason they say they need to use it for.

The rule should be if you see or hear something, say something.

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