Two middle school girls were walking down a busy street about a week ago. School had been out for an hour, and they were probably about a half-mile from school. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. A man in a two-door, older-model green Honda pulled up alongside them and, in mixed English and Spanish, started talking to them, urging them to get in his car so he could take them to his house. They refused, but he continued to linger for awhile before driving away.
Moments before the middle school let out the next day, I got a call from the principal asking if I would send out a special alert to everyone on our electronic newsletter list. I said I'd do it as soon as I grabbed the kids from school. And so I did.
I forwarded it to the elementary school principal, mentioning that I had sent it out to the middle school email list at the request of its principal and making sure she was aware of the incident.
Her initial reaction startled me. She said she was aware of it and that she'd posted it in the staff room and asked teachers to "reinforce with their children the importance of walking with friends and reporting suspicious incidents." She added, "Since our children are driven to school, I didn't see the necessity of sending it via e-mail to all parents. What do you think?"
I think she doesn't know me very well or know about my run-ins with the he/she interim co-principals last year when I filed a formal complaint about their non-response to incidents such as that one.
I didn't even have to respond, though, because within moments, she sent another email saying she had just gotten the word to send it out to everybody.
Let's say the kids are driven to and from school. [Let's say it, even though easily 5% of the older kids walk home and another handful hang out in the park near the school until their parents come an hour after school lets out.]
What possible harm is there in telling parents that there's a motherf#$ker out there and that they might want to alert their kids and each other? Kids play in their yards and walk to each other's houses and ride their bikes to and fro. Who cares if it's not an issue to necessarily concern yourself with in the context of getting your own kid to and from school? Don't we want to know for the times that they're out and about? Don't we want to know for the times we're out and about?
Is your town hooked up with CrimeReports.com? [This is not a review, folks. It's just something I found when investigating other incidents the police mentioned in a nearby town.]
Wow. I feel about it the same way I felt about California's Megan's Law database the first time I looked. Damn. For an extremely safe town, we sure have a lot of [fill in the blank]. Not for the faint of heart. But I'd rather be aware than unaware, like knowing that the friendly bagger at our local Safeway store is a registered sex offender. Or knowing that some asshole is trying to lure young girls into his car.
At least, that's what I think.