OAK PARK, Ill. (STMW) — Police are investigating an incident Wednesday morning in which a driver tried to coax a seventh-grade girl into his car near Brooks Middle School in west suburban Oak Park, Pioneer Press is reporting.
Chris Jasculca, spokesman for Oak Park Public Schools District 97, called the incident, which occurred in the 400 block of Clinton Avenue at about 8:45 a.m., an “attempted abduction.”
“The student is fine, and the police are investigating the matter,” Jasculca said in an email to community members.
An man unsuccessfully attempted to coax the student into his vehicle while she was walking to school, he said. The student immediately ran home to report the incident to her family, who contacted the Oak Park police, Jasculca said.
Oak Park police described the man as a white man between 35 and 45 years old with brown and gray hair, a brown and gray goatee and a “Hispanic” accent. The man was driving a light gray four-door Honda or Toyota, police said.
“They will also be increasing their patrols around the area of the school,” Jasculca said. “We will update you on the status of this situation as new information becomes available.”
Such an incident should remind the community of the safety precautions children should take when they are walking in Oak Park, whether it is to and from school or on the weekends, Jasculca said.
District 97 has compiled safety guidelines for students with the help of the Police Department.
• Always try to walk in groups or with at least one other person.
• Walk on sidewalks and other open areas rather than alleys that have less visibility.
• Be aware of your surroundings and any strangers who are nearby.
• If you have a concern about another person near you, go to a neighbor’s house, find an adult to assist you, or go back to school.
• Never approach a vehicle unknown to you even if the occupant speaks to you.
• Yell loudly and run if you feel you are in danger.
• Be sure to tell your parents if something happens. Parents should contact the police and the school.
“Please take a few minutes to review and discuss these safety rules with your children,” Jasculca said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)