April 18, 2018
I wanted you to be aware that police are investigating reports of a stranger who approached students yesterday afternoon in the vicinity of our schools. One student reported being approached by a man in a red jeep who asked if the student needed a ride. The student reported this happened while walking on Kinderhook Street shortly after school. Another student reported being approached by a man on foot, who also asked if the student needed a ride, a short time later while the student was walking on Woodbridge Avenue. It is not clear whether it was the same man who was reported to have approached these students. Neither child went with the stranger and instead reported the incidents to an adult in the community.
While the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigates these reports, I wanted you to know that Chatham Central School District is working closely with our staff, our school resource deputy, and local law enforcement to make sure our students remain safe. There is an extra police presence in the neighborhood around our school at the time of arrival and dismissal today, and as always, staff will be keeping a close watch around our buildings. Today in school, we also took time to remind students to be vigilant about their safety when out in the community.
Parents may also want to remind your children about basic safety precautions when it comes to strangers. It’s always a good idea to avoid walking alone and children should never get into the vehicle of someone they don’t know. If asked to get into a vehicle by a stranger, children should run away in the opposite direction the vehicle is facing and immediately tell a trusted adult. There are a number of good resources online for parents wanting to talk with their children about stranger safety. One such resource can be found at: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/social-emotional-skills/talking-about-stranger-safety
Please know Chatham Central Schools is committed to working with our families and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our children. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s building principal.
Superintendent of Schools