REDMOND, Ore. - For the second time in two weeks, Redmond elementary parents were advised by letter Wednesday of student reports of someone driving a van and approaching children before or after school, offering a ride.
However, police said a report of such an incident by two youngsters was determined to be unfounded
The latest letter, to Tom McCall Elementary parents, was prompted by a case in which a father said his son and a friend were approached Wednesday morning by a van whose driver told them to get in and get a ride to school. They instead ran and told parents, who in turn told police.
Police later said after talking to the youths that the report was unfounded, although they stressed that the youngsters had done the right thing by talking to adults.
Previously, police said they had been investigating cases where children near Vern Patrick and Lynch elementary schools, Obsidian Middle School and the Redmond Proficiency Academy reported a man in a van offering them rides and, at least in some cases, following them.
Here's the letter and tips:
***SAFETY NOTICE TO TOM MCCALL FAMILIES****
The Redmond School District and Redmond Police Department would like to notify parents and the community of an important safety concern. Over the course of the last week, there have been reports of an individual(s) approaching students in various neighborhoods before or after school, offering to provide them with a ride.
The Redmond Police Department would like to advise parents that the police are aware of the situation and are currently conducting a thorough investigation of these reports.
Redmond School District and the Redmond Police Department strongly encourage parents to be aware of this situation and to take the following precautions if necessary:
- If you see a vehicle stopping to speak with children, or if your children report this to you, call dispatch immediately at 541-693-6911.
- Please attempt to obtain an accurate vehicle description and license plate number. Photos of the vehicle and driver are also very helpful.
- Parents can use the Text-a-Tip Program to report this type of activity directly to the Police Department. The Text-a-Tip number is 541-316-5585.
Although we do not have specific information that our students are in any danger, we want to take every precaution possible to keep your children safe. The following page includes ideas and reminders to help ensure the safety of your children when dealing with strangers.
The Redmond School District and Redmond Police Department are committed to the safety of our students and to our community. If you have further questions, please contact the Redmond Police Department at 541-504-3400.
Thank you for your support and partnership in keeping our community safe.
Stranger Awareness Reminders & Tips
Keeping your kids safe when they're out of your sight is a major concern for every parent. But teaching your child specific street-savvy skills may be the best way to protect them from predators.
Below are some tips for discussing personal safety with your child:
- Ask your child to be alert and report to their teacher, principal or trusted adult any suspicious cars or strangers loitering near the school.
- If your child walks to and from school and/or after-school activities, ensure they walk with a friend – especially after dark.
- Determine the safest path to and from school for your child and walk or bike with them several times until they feel comfortable with the route.
- Discuss traffic safety. Make sure they know the proper hand signals, street signals and street crossing rules.
- Arrange transportation in advance for school activities such as plays and athletic events so that you are aware when activities begin and end.
- Know where your child is going and what time they are expected back. If they are delayed, have them call home. Encourage them to leave notes and ask permission before leaving the house.
- Notify the school of any changes in your child's regular transportation routine from school to home.
- Teach your child to avoid strangers and never accept a ride with someone they do not know well. Talk with your child about who it is okay to accept a ride from.
- Ensure your child knows what to do if you are not home when they arrive after school. How should they answer phone calls? What if someone comes to the door? Where is the first aid kit?
- Encourage your child to talk to you about situations that have made them feel uncomfortable.