Educating parents and students about safety

FRESNO, Calif.

The kidnapping of a little girl in Northeast Fresno still concerns the founders of the "Play it Safe" organization. Founded in 1979, Eugene and Juanita Junette spend their own time and money passing out "Play it Safe" coloring books to schools and community groups.

Millions of children across the United States and in 61 countries have received the book or are familiar with it. It's since been translated in 119 different languages.

Junette tells Action News, "Because, without it, you've got a kidnapper, a dead child, or an abused little girl like we're talking about today".

He's been following the kidnapping case in Northeast Fresno. A 10 year old girl was walking next to her bicycle on her way to school near Jackson and Gettysburg. The suspect then dropped her off near Highway 180 and Napa in Western Fresno County.

"It's tough, it's a tough thing when you're a parent," Junette said. "I've got children of my own. I've seen the parents and I've seen what happens".

"Play It Safe" was initially started after the kidnapping, rape and murder of Victoria DeSantiago in February of 1979. Junette says the community was intent on helping further educate parents and families after the 8 year old's murder more than 30 years ago.

"This whole community went wild," Junette said. "Fresno went bezerk over this case".

Junette said at the time, the only way he could help, was to help change the way kids learn and change the way parents teach their kids. Decades later, the program still exists, and can still be found in classrooms. There's new safety teaching games, and different colors, but the message will never change. "Safety is very important in your life".

Junette will be at the Big Fresno Fair next week, or, you can click "See It On TV" for more information on obtaining a "Play It Safe" book.

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