Less than a month ago, four of Nyack Middle School students were approached by a strange man and in October, there was a .
Unfortunately, another similar incident occured on Monday morning at a Valley Cottage school bus stop. The Nyack School District released this information yesterday:
"While waiting for their school bus, two Middle School students reported that a white adult male wearing all black was standing across the street at the dock and appeared to be staring at them. One of the boys alertly went back into his home to advise his father who came outside to investigate. The man quickly got into his car before the father could approach him and drove away in a dark colored sedan. It was reported that there was another person in the passenger side of the car," according to a letter by Superintendent Jim Montesano.
Sgt. Jo Anne Fratianni of the Clarkstown Police Department said that police are investigating it and that the incident occurred sometime between 7:20 and 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 26 at a school bus stop located at the intersection of Massachusetts and Sedge Avenues in Valley Cottage. This is the bus stop located across the street from Twin Ponds Road.
Police say that the students felt that the male was suspicious because he was staring at them and that they didn’t recognize him from the neighborhood. The male is described as white, wearing a black coat and a gray/black winter hat with a red pom pom on top.
The incident was reported to the Clarkstown Police Department by the Assistant Principal of the Middle School after the students arrived at school. The incident is being investigated by the Clarkstown Police Department Juvenile Aid Bureau. It is unknown what the male was doing in the area.
"It is important to note that the police do not know the intent of this individual; however, we feel it is important to keep our parent community informed of any suspicious activity involving your children," said Montesano.
The Nyack School District sent home a note about the situation and safety precautions on Monday with the elementary and middle school students, and is also posted on the District website.
Parents are urged to talk to their children about how to stay safe when walking home from school and stress reporting any suspicious activity they see.
Below are the basic safety reminders:
- Discuss predatory lures that are commonly used: i.e. asking for assistance, lost pet, bribery, authority figures, faking an emergency about a family member, etc.
- Encourage your children to travel in groups, be aware of their surroundings and be alert.
- If your children are approached by a stranger they should not engage in a conversation or answer any questions and they should obviously never get into another person’s vehicle without parental consent.
- Other good tactics include three basic rules if engaged: “drop” anything they are carrying that may slow them down, “holler” and make as much noise and commotion as possible and “run” to a safe location where there are other adults. Report any luring incidents by calling 911.
- Encourage your child to trust his/her intuition and take action if he/she senses danger. 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:
- Say NO if someone tries to touch her/him or make them feel scared or uncomfortable
- GO quickly away from the situation
- TELL a trusted adult.
- When your child is old enough to go out alone, demand that he/she tell you the three ‘W’s”; WHO I am going with; WHERE I will be; WHEN I will be returning home. Make sure your child informs you anytime plans may change.
- Establish home and phone safety rule. 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 have parent control options to block certain material from coming into your child’s computer.