BRIDGETON, Mo. (KSDK) - Pattonville School District sent a note home to parents Tuesday discussing a suspicious incident involving a man approaching a student at a bus stop. Bridgeton police are still investigating what happened.
An elementary school student in the Spanish Village neighborhood was waiting at a bus stop Tuesday morning, according to the email, when a man began walking toward him as if he wanted to talk to him. The child ran home and informed his grandmother, who notified police.
Police are investigating an attempted abduction that happened in Bridgeton on Wednesday morning, when a fourth grade girl was approached by a man driving a white van.
The girl told police that the man pulled over and asked her to help him find his cell phone in his van. The girl refused and continued walking, at which point the man got out of the van and grabbed her.
The girl was able to escape and the man drove away in his van.
Here's the full letter sent to students in the Pattonville School District:
Dear Pattonville Parents and Guardians,
Today we were made aware of a possible stranger who approached a bus stop, and we felt it important to share this information as a reminder to talk with your children about issues related to stranger danger. This morning, an elementary student in the Spanish Village neighborhood in Bridgeton was waiting at his bus stop when a man began walking toward him as if he wanted to talk to him. The child ran home and informed his grandmother. The grandmother notified Bridgeton police, who took a report and will enhance patrols in the area during dismissal and arrival times. The man is described as being a white male in his 40s, 5 foot 11 inches tall, approximately 180 pounds with brown hair, wearing a red shirt and black pants. We commend the student for doing the right thing and telling an adult.
Part of Pattonville's vision is to provide a safe and caring learning environment. No community is immune from potential stranger danger issues. How a community responds to these issues makes a difference. Our goal in communicating stranger danger issues to the entire Pattonville community is to make sure you have accurate and timely information. This approach helps keep our neighborhoods and children safe and dispels rumors.
I encourage you to continue talking with your children about dealing with strangers and how to take appropriate action when they feel uneasy about a situation. I also encourage parents to work together in their neighborhoods to provide an adult presence at bus stops and to help monitor children as they walk to and from school.
One way to help your child is to remind them of the following tips. These tips are adapted from information provided by the St. Louis County Police Department:
Be aware of your surroundings. Know what cars and people are nearby.
Travel with others - avoid being places outside the home alone or traveling alone.
Never approach a stranger's car. Even if a person is asking for help or directions, children should move away from the car. The safety of the children is more important than giving directions.
If children routinely see the same car parked (or following them) on their normal walking routes (to and from school, etc.), they should report it to authorities immediately.
Do not talk to adults you do not know. Anytime you are approached by an adult, you should check with a parent or trusted adult immediately. If a stranger begins talking to you every day, such as saying "hi" or asking questions, or tries to become your friend, tell your parents or another trusted adult.
If a child observes something unusual, then he/she should report it to his/her parents and/or the police.
Keep the school informed if there are unusual circumstances that have occurred in the neighborhood. We can then communicate it to our school community as well.
For more information on keeping your child safe at home and in the community, visit the St. Louis County Police Department website at http://www.co.st-louis.mo.us/police/ or download the County Police safety brochure at http://www.psdr3.org/NewsInfo/pdf/School_Safety.pdf. In addition, the Missouri State Highway Patrol maintains a website of registered sex offenders with their addresses in St. Louis County and throughout the state. You may access this list at http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/PatrolDivisions/CRID/SOR/SORPage.html.
Working together we can keep our children safe. Please feel free to contact my office or your child's school if you have any questions.
Superintendent of Schools
Pattonville School District