Dear Quaker Valley Families:
The district was informed of an incident that occurred yesterday involving a student who was approached by an adult in a vehicle. The student is safe and the incident was reported to the police, who are investigating. It is unknown whether the individual posed a threat to our student. Regardless, this is an opportunity to remind our parents and students about personal safety.
I strongly urge you to talk with your child about this important topic. Allegheny County's Safe Start program offers the following tips for staying aware and safe:
- Always "CHECK FIRST" before you go anywhere with anyone at any time for any reason. This includes going with relatives and people you know. You should always check first with the person who is caring for you at that time. If it is impossible to check with your caregiver, then the answer is "NO! You may not go."
- Always have at least one other person with you when you are out walking. If you are in a group, make sure everyone stays with the group and no one is left behind.
- When outside your house, do not wear clothing or a backpack or other articles with your name visible on it. A person could read it and call you by name, hoping you'll believe that they are to be trusted.
- If someone tries to talk to you from inside his/her car, stay more than an adult arm's length away from a car so that you cannot be reached by the person inside the car.
- If someone encourages you to get into a car to help find a lost pet, or to leave with them for any reason, you should yell "NO" as loudly as possible and run to the closest adult whom you know and trust. Yelling "No," also called the POWER NO, indicates you are prepared for the situation.
- Run in the opposite direction from the one that the car is facing. It is harder to drive in reverse than straight ahead.
- If an adult tries to convince you he/she is not a stranger and that you can trust her/him, do not be fooled if you are not sure. You are right to yell "NO" and run away.
- Learn your full address and, if possible, your primary caregiver's "best" phone number.
- Once you are in a safe place, write down as much as you remember about the car. What color was it? Was it a car, truck or van? How many doors did it have? Do you remember the license plate? Also, write down what you remember about how the person in the car looked and where you were when this happened.
- Remember you can call 911 for help or to report any attempted luring.
For more tips and helpful safety information, contact Safe Start at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.safetykids.org. As always, please report any safety concerns to the local police and/or to the school district.
Please help us reinforce the philosophy that school safety is everyone's business by talking with your child about the importance of informing an adult anytime something is said or done that makes him/her feel unsafe - this includes verbal and physical threats as well as bullying. If you or your child are not comfortable talking with a teacher or other staff member, reports may be made anonymously on the district's tip-line 412-749-3633 or from our district website (look for QV Tipline under the Quick Links drop down menu). I assure you that each report is investigated fully.
Thank you in advance for your assistance in keeping our schools, our students and our community safe.
Dr. Joseph H. Clapper