Schools alert parents to suspicious incidents |

Schools alert parents to suspicious incidents

Scott N. Miller

More eyes are better.That’s the basic message educators and police are sending in the wake of a pair of “stranger danger” incidents. In the wake of the second, which occurred Sept. 15 at the Eagle River Village mobile home park in Edwards, Eagle County School District Superintendent John Brendza sent letters home with students to inform parents about the suspicious incidents.The first incident took place near the Aspens mobile home park in Avon. Two boys walking to school at Avon Elementary School were accosted by a Spanish-speaking man in a white car who told the boys to get into his car. The boys ran straight to school and reported the incident.In the next incident, an elementary school-age boy at Eagle River Village was approached by at least one man in a black pickup or sport utility vehicle. The boy was offered candy in both English and Spanish. The boy ran home and authorities were contacted.There are other reports of a man approaching adolescent boys and girls.While there are no suspects in any of the incidents, Avon Detective Mike Leake said his hunch is that the younger children were approached by the same man. He also praised the school district for getting information out quickly.

“They’re really trying to take whatever measures they need to keep kids safe.” Leake said. “After that first incident, the principal at Avon (Chris Williams) immediately e-mailed all the other principals about it. She didn’t just sit on it.”Leake said while there’s no suspect yet, “We’re going to work on this as long as we need to.”Until someone is caught, though, parents are being urged to keep a watchful eye. And the school district is trying to start its own version of an e-mail chain letter in order to start a “virtual neighborhood watch.”To try to set up the watch, the district sent an e-mail to its “communications advisory network,” a group of district officials, parents, and others, including this newspaper. Network members were asked to forward the message to everyone in their local address books.”That way… everyone will be keeping an extra lookout for all our kids,” the message states.Getting people’s attention and putting them on the lookout can only help, Leake said. “People need to be aware,” he said.In school, teachers work regularly on “stranger awareness” with students, school district spokeswoman Pam Boyd said. There’s more emphasis on those lessons now, she added.”We tell people to talk about it at home, too.” Boyd said. “That’s what I did today with my own kids.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or dangerFive tips for kids when you aren’t with a parent or trusted adult.• Never walk alone when going to a friend’s house. Always walk with a friend.

• Don’t talk to adults you don’t know.• Never go anywhere with an adult you don’t know.• Never take anything from an adult you don’t know.• Never try to help an adult you don’t know.==================Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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