Monday, August 31, 2009

A Blue Prius Everywhere I Turn

This is a long story. I want your input though, so, buddy, can you spare the time?

[It was a blue Prius.]

I knew something had happened. How often are two police cars parked outside Youngest's school?

"Are the police here to arrest everyone's favorite second grader?" I joked to the office manager.

They weren't.

[It was a blue Prius.]

They were there Friday because there had been an "incident" that morning after school had started. A woman and her child, an afternoon kindergartner, were approached by and then tailed for a short distance by an odd man. He was first standing beside his car and then got in, drove alongside them, turned his car toward the curb and asked the child if she would like to ride in his car. He then followed up by asking if both the child and her mother would like to go for a ride. Shut down by the mother, he immediately drove away.

The mother went back to the school and reported it. The police were contacted. A couple of hours later, the police talked to a driver of a vehicle matching the description. The letter to all parents from the interim co-principal said in part:

"The driver of the car was questioned by the police and it was determined that no violation of the law had been committed. Information was taken and a case report was made regarding the questionable and bizarre behavior of this individual."

[It was a blue Prius.]

No information about the driver or the car was provided to anyone. But I knew who the woman was. Because I had seen her moments before her encounter. She was asked by the police to keep it on the down low, to not tell people, to keep it close to the vest.

The interim co-principal wouldn't give up anything either. A neighbor of mine, fearful that the man was another neighbor of ours, begged the interim co-principal for information about the car, about the driver. She wanted reassurance that it wasn't our neighbor, that we remain, at least for the time being, free from harm. The interim co-principal wouldn't give up a damn thing.

[It was a blue Prius.]

The superintendent of schools sent out to all district principals more detailed information than any of them appear willing to share with the parents or the children. That information indicated the vehicle. So all the district employees apparently know what to be on the look out for. But they're apparently not supposed to tell the parents or the children.

[It was a blue Prius.]

Tell me, please, why we can't know to be particularly wary of a 40-year-old white man driving a blue Prius around our kids' schools?

[It was a blue Prius.]

[It was a blue Prius.]

[It was a blue Prius.]

[It was a blue Prius.]

[Photo courtesy The New York Times.]


Tara R. said...

That is so wrong on so many levels. The admins should have told the parents everything. Amazing.

Unknown said...

I volunteer to help fun one of my daughter's activities, and this year one of the other little girl's parent is an aggravated sex offender. So for once, I'm seeing both side of the situation...parent and administrator. It's a horrible place to be. Basically if you warn you can get sued. And if you don't warn you can get sued. There has got to be a better way to handle situations like mine and the one you're talking about in your blog entry. I wish I was smart enough to come up with a solution.

D... said...

A horrible, horrible catch 22. Why must something bad have to happen before more detailed warnings are issued? I agree that there is nothing wrong to let parents & children know what happened in detail.

mayberry said...

Yeah, I guess it's a CYA kind of move, but you'd think there would be some way to give a warning without making a false accusation. Especially with what's in the news right now, especially in your part of the world.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I get why they didn't want to tell anyone but then again they should have told everyone. I mean, I would certainly want to keep my eye out for this car, but then again I guess they were afraid of the one or two parents who would go after this person with no warning or provocation.

Ish. Rock and a hard place indeed.

Janie Woods said...

When my oldest was six, I picked him up from his PRIVATE school. About three miles from the school, he asks what highway we were on. I told him and he replied,"Huh, that man took off in the wrong direction." WTF????? Some guy had PULLED INTO THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT during recess and tried to snatch my son over the fence. Luckily, his friends started screaming and a teacher came running...NO ONE TOLD ME.


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