Stranger approaches student in south district area

September 18, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

NEW — 3:45 p.m. Sept. 18, 2009

While en route to his bus stop, a 12-year-old Maywood Middle School student was approached by a stranger at 6:45 a.m. today in the 100 block of 206th Avenue Southeast in the Maple Hills community.

A middle-aged, black woman wearing a green hat pulled her newer, grayish-blue pickup beside the boy and asked if he wanted a ride. The student said no and the woman drove away. The woman did not try to force the student into her vehicle, but the student did not know her either.

District officials sent out the bulletin to let families know of the incident and make sure students are aware of what they should do when a stranger approaches them.

When the bus came to pick him up, he reported the incident to the driver who sent the information to the district’s Transportation Department. Officials there alerted King County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Montalvo, a school resource officer for the district’s south end schools.

If you have any information or would like more information about this case, e-mail Montalvo at montalvod@issaquah.wednet.edu or call 837-4835.

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District officials recommend using these tips to stay safe:

Walk to and from school or other locations in groups.

Use paved walkways, not shortcuts through wooded areas.

Don’t interact with unknown people or animals.

Never give personal information, especially your name, age or address to strangers.

Don’t use iPods or other music players while walking or waiting outside.

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If students do have an encounter with a stranger, district officials recommend using part of the Step Defense Program:

Step back away from the stranger.

Keep a “bubble of safety” of at least 15 feet between you and the stranger. Once you are more than 15 feet away, the chances of him or her re-engaging you are small.

Draw attention to yourself by yelling as loud as you can. Yelling “stranger” rather than “help” lets everyone within earshot know that this is not a game.

Get slippery. Pull your arms into your chest (without crossing them). By keeping your arms close to your torso, you are harder to grab by the arms.

Run to safety — any place where there are other people. First choice is to run to adults. The second choice is to run to children. Never run and hide. You need witnesses.

The rules to running: Look where you are running (not behind you). You are not allowed to get tired until you are safe.

Bite. If a stranger grabs you, fight back. You do not need to become a victim. The best weapon for everyone is biting. The human bite has between 100 and 200 pounds of pressure.

Rules to biting: Step toward the attacker; bite whatever is closest; bite as hard as you can; and don’t stop biting until he or she lets you go. Then, run to safety.

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