Schools, community on guard against abductions
The Grass Valley School District has revised its safety policies following the March 24 attempted abduction of a 9-year-old Scotten School student in front of Lyman Gilmore Middle School.
Parents will now be required to check in at the school offices and pick up their children in the classroom at the conclusion of both the district’s after-school program and 4-H enrichment program. Previously, students with a parent’s permission were allowed to wait outside Hennessy, Scotten or Lyman Gilmore schools while parents arrived.
Parents must sign each child out at the conclusion of the after-school program, which began last month.
Superintendent Jon Byerrum sent a letter to parents Tuesday informing them of the new policy, established after a parent gave the 9-year-old written permission for the student to wait outside Lyman Gilmore Middle School for an older sibling until the parent could pick them up.
Parents will no longer be given that option under the new provision.
Students in grades six through eight who also attend Lyman Gilmore’s after-school program will be allowed to sign themselves out if they walk home, but only with written permission from parents, Byerrum said.
In addition, those attending the after-school program must check in at their respective schools. They can’t leave the two-hour program early unless they have been granted written permission by a parent or responsible adult.
“Most of this is a clarification of our policies,” Byerrum said.
The incident occurred March 23, and Byerrum said he wasn’t able to get details until March 24. Students, teachers and staff began spring break the following day, which prompted the superintendent to issue the letters on Tuesday, the first day of classes after the break.
Byerrum said most of the district’s staff didn’t know about the incident until Monday.
The investigation into the reported attempted abduction has not been completed, and no arrests have been made, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said.
The girl told deputies that two men attempted to take her as she waited outside Lyman Gilmore. This is the first time in more than 15 years that such an abduction attempt has occurred, Byerrum recalled.
The Grass Valley School District already requires students to obtain written permission from parents if they walk home after the regular school day, he said.
Byerrum said he would instruct staff to ensure that students are not left unattended during or after the school day. Adults already walk children to student pick-up spots at each of the schools.
The letter to parents states that “the Grass Valley School District will meet with local law enforcement to ensure timely exchange of information for a more coordinated response.”
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