(UPDATED 2:11 pm with letter sent home by Denny/Sealth prinicipals)
Just in, from Seattle Police:
Police are investigating after a 15-year-old girl was grabbed while walking through Westwood Village Tuesday morning.
The girl told officers she was walking to school at 6:30 AM when a man approached her and asked where he could buy a phone charger. She answered his question and made her way to a nearby coffee shop. The girl said that when she exited the cafe, the man continued to follow her, at one point wrapping both of his arms around her. The girl broke free and ran the rest of the way to Denny International Middle School, where she reported the incident to administrators.
The victim described the man as in his early 30’s, black, wearing a black hoodie and sweat pants. If you have any information in this case please call 911 and speak with an officer.
This is the first walking-to/from-school incident reported against a Denny or Sealth student in more than a month – last one in our archives was in early March.
Reminder that, as mentioned earlier, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets tonight, so if you have questions/concerns about this or anything else recently in WS, come hear from and talk to police, 7 pm @ the precinct (Delridge/Webster).
ADDED 2:11 PM: We asked Denny principal Jeff Clark to please share the letter that we expected would be sent home to parents. Here it is (it’s to be sent to Sealth families too) – please note that they still need volunteers for the safety effort we spotlighted here last month:
April 21, 2015
Dear Denny and Chief Sealth Scholars and Families,
We want to share with you information right away regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving one of our scholars on her way to school.
At approximately 6:20 am an eighth-grade female scholar was followed around Westwood Village by a man who persistently asked her questions. He was described as an East African man in his early 30’s, thin built with short curly hair and a goatee, who spoke with an accent. He continued to follow her through the parking lot and on the path from Westwood through the Southwest Athletic Center toward our campus. When she approached Thistle, he grabbed her. She broke free from his grasp and ran to school and reported the incident to school staff right away. Denny Staff notified the family and the Seattle Police Department, who are actively investigating.
The safety of our scholars is our top priority. We are continuing to coordinate with the SW Precinct Captain to discuss the safety and their increased policing efforts. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area. As a part of these efforts, we are recruiting a team of volunteers to be trained and posted around the neighborhood to serve as part of a “block watch” system as our scholars come to and from school. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Jeff Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-252-9000.
You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:
• Walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times.
• Leaving for school at times where there are high levels of pedestrian traffic.
• Immediately reporting anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).
• Keep earbuds off and expensive phones out of sight.
More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website: http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm.