The Foothills School Division is urging parents and students to use caution after a nine-year-old boy was approached by two men in a white minivan on his way home from school Wednesday afternoon, Janurary 24th.
Superintendent of Schools John Bailey says student safety in Foothills School Division is their utmost concern.
In addition to an increased police presence, they plan to increase outdoor supervision around the schools for the time being.
They also ask that families please inform the school office if they choose to make alternate school drop-off or pick-up arrangements.
RCMP are investigating the incident.
Bailey adds this is an excellent opportunity to remind your children about personal safety and of the trusted adults they can go to about concerns.
Below is a resource from the Canadian Police Association which can help guide your discussion at home as well.
Keep a safe distance from any unknown person approaching you.
A stranger is just someone you don’t know and can look like anyone.
Don’t hesitate to walk away from a stranger who either acts very nice or makes you feel uncomfortable.
Never get into a car or other vehicle or go anywhere with anyone unless your parent or guardian has given you permission.
Shout or scream to attract attention if a stranger tries to grab you or threaten you in another way.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation and there’s no one you know around to help, it’s okay to accept the assistance of a stranger.
Never allow a stranger to talk with you or give you anything unless a trusted adult is with you and gives you permission.
Never give a stranger your name, address, telephone number or other personal information.
Always let the adult in charge of you know where you are going, the person going with you, and what you’ll be doing.
Stand and walk with confidence and be aware of your surroundings wherever you are.
If you become accidentally separated from your parent or guardian a shopping mall or any other place where there are many people, go immediately to a security guard, a person who works in a store or an information booth, or a mother with children and ask them for help.
If someone follows you in a vehicle, start going in the opposite direction. If someone is following you on foot, run away as fast as you can and tell a trusted adult what happened.
If a stranger asks you for help or for directions, quickly walk away.
You should try to take a friend with you, and never go places alone.
Always ask your parents’ or guardians’ permission to leave the yard or play area or go into someone’s home.
As well, here is an additional resource for parents in order to help facilitate the discussion about contact with strangers: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/social-emotional-skills/talking-about-stranger-safety