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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stranger Danger

Since the April abduction of Tucson's Isabel Celis and the even more recent crimes against three children in a neighborhood adjacent to Sabino Canyon, parents have called to express their concern for student safety.  I want to address these concerns in my blog today. I want to assure parents that we continue to put student safety first at Esperero Canyon Middle School and in CFSD.

To summarize the events of early last week: on Tuesday, May 8, a van with a Washington state license plate was seen near Ocotillo Drive and Webster Street.  It was reported that the van had been chasing a boy on his bike.  That evening, the local news reported that the Pima County Sheriff's office had determined that no abduction had taken place.  Investigators located the driver of the van and interviewed that person.  They determined that there may have been criminal activity going on but not an abduction. Deputies are still trying to identify the boy on the bicycle.

I want to commend the actions of the Pima County Sheriff's Office this past Tuesday morning when law enforcement was responding to the abduction report.  At around 8:30 am, a PCSO detective came to our school in order to make sure that all students were safe and accounted for. Those absent students who had not been called in sick by parents and who could not be reached by phone received a welfare check by a deputy.  It took us a very short time to do these checks as Ms. Joni Brennan-Hazlett, our attendance clerk, is vigilant about accounting for students.  She spends her mornings every day making sure that all students are present or accounted for.  

We very much appreciate the professionalism of the Pima County Sheriff's office.  Dean Castro and I work with PCSO deputies throughout the school year. These men and women are passionate about protecting our children.  We are grateful to have them close by in light of these recent events.     

A parent suggested that we post all future stranger danger alerts on Facebook.  We will do this. Great idea!  Thank you, K (you know who you are)!  If you observe something suspicious, call 911 immediately.  Please inform us, too!  But call 911 first.  

Have you thought about having a conversation about safety with your kids but just don't know how to begin or what to say?  The FBI has an amazing website and some suggestions about helping kids during a stranger danger event.  The article is a great springboard for a conversation at home about safety. It gets the point across without scaring kids.  Here's the link:

Please call me at 209-8100 or email me with any concerns or suggestions regarding student safety.

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