A “suspicious person” chased a District 65 student as she was walking to her bus stop Thursday morning, according to e-mails sent to parents.
The girl was walking from her home to her bus stop near Washington Street and Brown Avenue at approximately 7:30 a.m. when a stranger started chasing after her, Supt. Hardy Murphy said in an e-mail. She ran away toward her school bus, and the stranger ran off in another direction. He did not physically touch her, according to police.
“Safety is a very high priority for our school community,” Murphy said in his e-mail. “I have asked local law enforcement to help our students feel safe by cruising streets and bus route stop areas during the hours immediately before and after school.”
Evanston Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott told Patch that a suspicious person bulletin had been sent out to police officers after the incident, and confirmed that police would be stepping up patrols in the area.
District also 65 offered the following tips for parents on safe walking habits for children:
Safe walk routes are posted on the D65 website www.district65.net. We also recommend that you remind your child to:
• whenever possible, walk with a friend or trusted adult
• stay alert to surroundings when walking
• use the safe walk routes and avoid using alleys or shortcuts
• obey all traffic signals, crossing guards and school patrol members.
If approached by a stranger, a child should:
• shout “NO” loudly and continually if the stranger tries to lead the child away
• stay at arm’s length when a stranger approaches
• not speak to the stranger
• as soon as possible, tell a trusted adult what happened.
Other ways to help a child stay safe include having a family code word that only you and your child share. This way the child can feel secure in knowing who they can talk to or take a ride from.