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Are Children Safe Walking to School?

Several reports have been made in the area regarding suspicious drivers approaching young students.

There have been multiple police reports in recent weeks, including Port Jefferson and Commack, in which young children have been approached by suspicious drivers while on their way to school.

According to Commack School District Superintendent Donald James, on Feb. 14, a white man, described to be between 30 and 40 years old with dirty blonde hair, approached a Commack student who was walking on Colby Drive to his bus stop. The man was said to have been wearing box glasses and a light blue jacket and driving either a grey or silver vehicle.

The man reportedly waved at the boy, who was walking to school along Colby Drive. He then stopped his vehicle, opened the door and asked, “Hello little boy, do you need a ride?" 

The boy declined and the school and police were notified.

On the same day, a in a small maroon or red car on Washington Avenue near Hickory Street, according to a statement by the school district.

"The driver pulled the car alongside the student on the wrong side of the street and followed her a little bit then stopped a couple of feet in front of her. When the student turned towards her mother, the mother came running down the block and the car sped away running the stop sign. Police have been notified of the incident," the statement on the school's website reads.

Two weeks prior, a 9-year-old Hauppauge girl was approached by a man, described to be in his 40s, in a white Lexus within the Spartan Lane and Pinedale Road area, the district Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss announced Feb. 6.

In January, Port Jefferson School District issued a Stranger Danger alert after a man approached an eighth-grader on school property after dismissal.

The female student described the man as white and about 50-years-old wearing blue Nike running pants. While walking along a path near Brook Road next to the High School track the student was approached by the man who asked her about her age and grade, making her feel uncomfortable, according to School Superintendent Ken Bossert.

Back in October, parents and students in Comsewogue School District had run-ins with a suspicious blue mini-van on two separate occasions.

At about 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 9, a 16-year-old fromComsewogue High School was reportedly walking down Terryville Road near Comsewogue Library on her way to her bus stop at Jarvin Road and Ardmer Drive when a blue-colored van drove down the road toward her from Route 347. According to an account that the girl gave to police and to the school, a man inside shouted to her to get into the van as it passed by. The van then made a u-turn and headed back in her direction on the same side of the road. The student ran home and called police and the school.

Then on Oct. 10 at about 7 a.m., another blue mini-van drove by a bus stop filled with students from John F. Kennedy Middle School on Jefferson Boulevard, just three blocks away from the first incident. A report given to police and the school says that the van slowed down as it passed the bus stop and someone inside shouted to the group of kids. A parent who happened to be at the bus stop at the time started to approach the van but when they spotted her, it sped off.

Police said that the vehicle was described as a Chrysler mini-van with tinted windows. The van has also been described by students and parents as being teal-colored.

Are you concerned about your child's safety while walking to school? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Mels Ditties February 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Even tho' the bus stop was only a few houses from ours, when my boys were young they were only allowed to go to alone when they got to 6th grade...(at that age, they were all big enough (& warned enough) not to be easily snatched off the street)...Since my "baby" is now 19, it's been quite a while since that has been a worry... Today, there is no way I would allow them to walk to the bus (or to school) without supervision...I am soooo glad I am done with that phase of raising them and do not envy the job that parents of young children have to do these days...
April Campbell Quiggle February 16, 2013 at 04:11 PM
These are the kinds of stories that make me an over protective mother. I want to give my child more autonomy but it scares the hell out of me!
Team Dawg February 19, 2013 at 11:54 PM
These incidents occur far too often in districts all over Long Island, so much so that they inspired us to author a children's book on child safety whose storyline deals with this exact type of situation. Books can be a great way of opening up the lines of communication between children and adults. We can never stress to our children enough the importance of staying safe!

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