By LESLIE COLLINS
October 9, 2013
Two attempted abductions occurred over the course of days near Northeast High School (NEHS).
“We’re seeing a trend,” said Andre Riley, Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) manager of public relations. “You can’t risk something bad happening to the students, so we definitely want to get the word out.”
When KCPS used its automated calling system to inform parents of the two incidents, another parent called KCPS and said her daughter had been followed recently by a red truck.
NEHS Principal Doug Bolden said he learned about the first incident two weeks ago.
The first attempted abduction occurred around 4:20 p.m. on Sept. 26 and involved a white/grayish van and two black males. The student’s feet were already inside the van when a neighbor witnessed the event.
“She was screaming and a neighbor saw her,” Riley said. “The assailants then let her go.”
The female student was injured, requiring a trip to Children’s Mercy Hospital. During the second attempted abduction Sept. 30 near 8th and Prospect, a female student suffered minor injuries and her cell phone was stolen. That incident also involved a white/grayish van.
KCPS is working with its East Patrol Zone school resource officers to arrange for additional patrolling around the school and is asking the truancy officers to drive through surrounding neighborhoods to serve as a visible deterrent. In addition, KCPS sent home fliers and letters and posted on social media to make the public aware of the incidents.
“The parents have just been absolutely amazing,” Bolden said. “They’ve let me know what they’re doing in their own immediate areas to secure the safety of children.”
In addition to notifying parents, NEHS also used the public address system to give tips to students, like making sure to walk in pairs, being aware of one’s surroundings and paying attention to vehicles that look suspicious.
KCPS is asking the public to be on the look out for suspicious activity, Riley said.
“We will protect our kids. We will take every step we can to protect them,” Riley said. “One of those is making sure the community is aware, everyone’s eyes are wide open and they’re paying attention. When people are paying attention, those kids are safer.”