YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: Westwood police this afternoon released a sketch of a man a 13-year-old junior high school student said followed and then approached her in a vehicle this morning, asking whether she wanted a ride.
It happened around 7:10 a.m. on Lafayette Avenue (above) as she walked to school, Police Capt. Frank Durante told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The girl said the stranger pulled up in a gray four-door hatchback with a New York police department decal inside the driver’s side windshield and asked if she wanted a ride.
She told district employees as soon as she got to school, and they called Westwood police.
She described him as white, possibly middle-aged, with brown eyes, a crew cut and a balding head.
If you saw anything this morning that could help find the driver, please call Westwood police: (201) 664-7000
“All schools in the Westwood Regional School District will be particularly vigilant in monitoring lunch/recess and dismissal, and will be addressing the issue of “stranger danger” again today with all students in an age-appropriate way,” Schools Superintendent Geoffrey W. Zoeller, Jr. said, in a message to parents. “Additionally, we were already scheduled to address this issue with students in anticipation of Halloween.”
Given the current anxiety over several luring and attempted luring incidents, Zoeller said, officials are offering these tips for parents in talking with their children:
- Tell them: Do not talk to “strangers” under any circumstances. However, certain people can be sources of help — such as police officers, local store owners, or a mother or father visibly with their own children, in the event a youngster is in trouble;
- Establish “safety nets” of trusted adults and places, such as schools, stores, libraries, and places of worship. Also, discuss safe routes to use on the way to and from school and other destinations, as well as places to avoid, such as deserted areas or parking lots;
- Encourage your child to trust his/her intuition and take action if she/he senses danger. Please tell your child not to worry about being polite, to make a lot of noise, and to run away, scream, shout, or punch back at anyone that approaches them physically;
- Teach the NO-GO-TELL system. Your child should: (1) Say NO if someone tries to touch her/him or make them feel scared or uncomfortable, (2) GO quickly away from the situation, and (3) TELL a trusted adult;
- When your child is old enough to go out alone, demand that he/she tells you the three Ws: who I’m going with, where I’ll be, and when I’ll return home. Make sure your child informs you anytime his/her plans change;
- Make safety part of your routine everyday life. Alert your child to ploys that manipulative people may use to ingratiate themselves. Role-play some scenarios on a trip to a park or mall or other public place. For example, you might ask, “Suppose a person in a car asks you for directions? What if someone you don’t know comes to pick you up at school or at a playground? What if they say I sent them? What if they ask for your help in finding a lost pet? Or ask if you want to do something that sounds fun? Practice these and other scenarios on a regular basis to reinforce safety concepts.
- Establish home and phone safety rules. When your child is old enough to stay home alone, he/she should keep the door locked and never answer questions over the phone or at the door. Be aware of your child’s Internet activities. Predators use online chat rooms and other Internet resources to arrange face-to-face meetings with children. Many Internet service providers provide parent-control options to block certain material from coming in to your child’s computer. Special filtering software is also an option for blocking objectionable material. Use these tools, and stay involved in your child’s activities.
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Anxiety levels are rising amid reports of possible attempted lurings in Bergen County, including one early this morning in Fair Lawn in which neither two children, a witness nor police could say what exactly happened. This comes after two Lyndhurst boys yesterday made up a story about a man trying to lure them into his van. READ MORE….
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