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Observations prompt school district to reminds parents of "stranger danger"

Suspicious vehicles spur district to send letters to parents

Last week, Oregon Trail School district parents were reminded of speaking to their children about being safe on the way to school and being aware of strangers.

On the week of Friday, Jan. 23, schools within the Oregon Trail School District sent home letters to parents detailing recent incidents of suspicious vehicles seen along Oregon Trail bus routes in Welches and Boring.

“We need to make sure that our parents have the information to keep their kids safe,” said Julia Monteith, Oregon Trail School District communications director.

Earlier in the week, the letter explained, a man driving a 1978 bronze and white Chevy pickup, which was registered to a home in Gresham, was seen following school buses in rural areas near Dodge Park, Marsh Road and Lusted Road. Bus drivers noticed the truck and reported the circumstances to district administrators.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and Gresham Police are investigating the matter.

Also during that week, a man with a known criminal history who drives a white recreational vehicle with a trailer was spotted parked near area schools. The man is not allowed on or near school property.

Parents are urged to report any information regarding the men to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at 503-655-8211.

Monteith said it's important to report these incidents to local law enforcement and clarify information with parents “even if it ends up being nothing in the end.”

Safety, she added, is especially important on rural bus routes where children sometimes walk large distances from the bus stop to their homes. If possible, parents should meet their children at the bus in these areas.

The letter also urged parents to remind children of how to stay safe.

Issues to discuss with your children include:

n Using the buddy system and avoid walking to or from school or the bus stop alone

n If someone follows you on foot or in a car, stay away from them. Do not go near an unknown care to talk to people and do not accept a ride from a stranger.

n If a stranger attempts to grab you, yell and scream as loud as you can.