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Fact Check-No evidence leaflets instructing children to befriend strangers who approach them are being distributed in UK schools

There is no evidence that leaflets pictured in a social media post, instructing children to befriend and not be afraid of strangers who approach them, are being distributed in British schools. Spokespeople for two branches of the UK Government told Reuters they have not heard of the document being handed out to pupils.

One Facebook user, whose post has been shared more than 450 times (here), uploaded three pictures all showing different sections of the booklet, which is titled, ‘What to do if a stranger comes up to you on the street?’

The pamphlet instructs children not to be afraid of strangers, not to scream or cry around them, not to call them a paedophile because “this can be just as offensive as (the) n-word”, and to try and get to know them better. Another instruction, which is missing from the Facebook post but can be seen on two Russian websites (here) (here), urges children to invite the stranger home as “you wouldn’t believe how kind and funny your new friend might turn out to be”.

It also contains cartoon images that represent step-by-step instructions.

The Facebook post’s caption reads: “Schools indoctrinating your children to believe strangers are safe, slowly erasing the term ‘pedo’…this is how bad it’s getting. You best start checking everything they teach your kids.”

A similar post can be found (here) with a caption that says: “Coming to a school near you, along with Drag Queen Story Hour. This is from a UK primary school and is due to be released this September.”

The posts don’t specify the location of the supposed primary schools handing the leaflets out, but both the UK Government’s Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education – told Reuters via email that they doubt the veracity of the leaflets.

Reuters was also unable to find any other pictures of the alleged pamphlets, or any parents who claimed their child was given one.

A DfE spokesperson said the department has “no reason to believe this kind of misinformation is being distributed by a school”.

“We do not believe any teacher or head would sanction something so clearly dangerous. If anyone is aware of anything like this being distributed in their school community, they should contact their school.”

Likewise, a spokesperson for Ofsted said: “No, we haven’t come across these pamphlets and strongly doubt they could be real.”

The document displays no branding or logos to suggest it was created and distributed by a particular school, nor does it contain any contact or address details for the person or group responsible for their production.

VERDICT

No evidence. There is no evidence the leaflets are official publications produced by or for UK schools.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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