Prevention worth pounds of cure when it comes to children’s protection |

Prevention worth pounds of cure when it comes to children’s protection

Record Courier Staff Reports

Here is something to think about. Topaz Ranch Estates resident, Esther Villegas, called me with information about something she is very concerned about. According to Esther, some very little children have been seen, unattended, at the school bus stop on Pearl near Highway 208.

“I’m just very worried about these children and I just had to say something,” Villegas said. “One day I saw the one little girl running for her house in tears. Something had scared her. She looks like she is only about 6 years old, a little tiny thing, and too young to be out that early in the morning without an adult around.

“Things aren’t like when we were little,” she said. “The bus stop is too close to a main highway and anything could happen. The parents know when the bus is suppose to be there and they should stay with them to see them safely onto the bus.”

After the conversation, I realized she had a very good point. Unfortunately, life is not as safe as it was for some of us, 40 or 50 years ago and even back then, I had my own narrow escape when I was about 8 years old.

We lived in Pollock Pines and, back then, Highway 50 was just a two-lane highway that went right through Pollock Pines. I was riding my bicycle on a trail that paralleled the highway, coming back from a friend’s house, not more than maybe a quarter mile from home. A car passed slowly by me, turned and came back. This was done several times, then the vehicle stopped just ahead of me. The lone occupant, a man, opened his door and beckoned to me. I remember hesitating and I almost approached the open door. I was thinking maybe he needed to ask me a question, but then, something just didn’t feel right. I remember taking off on my bike just as fast as I could go. Thank goodness, I wasn’t too far from our house and my mother was home. She saw me come flying up the driveway, pedaling for all I was worth. The person in the vehicle, by this time, had turned around and had followed me. But, then he saw my mother on the porch and his intent became crystal clear as he stepped on the gas and sped away with a screech of tires. It was all too close for comfort when I think about it now. We, as children, didn’t have the education on how to avoid harmful strangers that children have today. Living in a rural area, I guess we felt safe and, my little incident aside, I think we were a lot safer back then. Even 30 years ago, my own kids were safer than today’s children, and I worried about them when they were out of my sight.

TRE may still be a sleepy little rural community but that does not give it immunity from bad people. There are so many predators out there now and I don’t mean the four-legged kind. I’m really not sure if there are just more of them today or if it is just my age and awareness that makes the numbers seem to grow. Either way, even just one is one too many.

Just a note to all parents – keep the little ones within sight. The old adage of an ounce of prevention is worth more than a hundred pounds of cures when it comes to the protection of our children.

Thank you Esther, for your concern. May our vigilance for our children, keep on keepin’ on.

— Jonni Hill can be reached through The Record-Courier at or by calling 782-5121, ext. 213, or after hours at