Superintendent’s letter to parents about abduction attempt
April 5, 2005
On Friday, March 25 and again on Saturday March 26, articles appeared in The Union newspaper reporting that there was an attempted abduction of a child in front of Lyman Gilmore School. The alleged abduction occurred at 5:45 p.m. as students were about to be released from the after-school program. The Scotten School after-school program staff had been instructed by the parent to allow the child to wait for an older sibling in front of Lyman Gilmore, where they would then be picked up by the parent.
The incident was immediately reported to the Sheriff’s Department by the after-school program staff, as well as by the parent. However, after talking to the child, the staff’s understanding of the incident was that it was far less serious than what was later reported to the Sheriff’s Department. School officials were not aware of the seriousness of the incident until late Thursday afternoon, just as school was releasing for spring break. This did not allow time for either parent or staff notification of the incident.
Our primary concern is always for student safety. The Sheriff’s Department and local police departments assigned all available personnel to patrol Nevada County schools on Thursday afternoon. The sheriff also released details of the incident to The Union so that parents would be alerted. This is how we eventually learned of the seriousness of the incident.
We have since reviewed our district’s safety procedures with the after-school program staff and have modified those procedures as needed. The important points of our procedures are:
1. Children are not to be left unattended during or after school. Adults escort children to the bus or parent pick-up points and then monitor them until parents arrive. The same precautions are used to escort children to the 4-H after-school program.
2. The after-school program staff has all program participants check in. Children are not allowed to leave the program early unless picked up by a parent or another responsible adult with the parent’s written permission.
3. Parents must pick up their children in the after-school classroom at the conclusion of the program. These classrooms have adult supervision. All children must be signed out by the parent or a parent-designated adult. The only exception is that Lyman Gilmore’s after-school participants are allowed to sign themselves out if they walk home. They are only allowed to do so with the written permission from their parents.
In addition to the above, the Grass Valley School District will meet with local law enforcement to ensure timely exchange of information for a more coordinated response.
If you have any questions about this incident or our safety procedures, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or me.
Jon C. Byerrum
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