WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Students approached while walking to school

Thanks to the parents who just shared this:

Dear Denny and Chief Sealth Scholars and Families,

We want to share information with you regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving two of our 10th-grade scholars on their way to school. At 8 a.m. this morning, two 10th-graders, one boy and one girl, were walking to school on 25th Ave SW between Westwood Village and SW Thistle St., when they were approached by an adult stranger on foot. The man got close to the girl and made inappropriate suggestive comments to her. The man was wearing a black sweatshirt with his hood on. The two scholars did everything right — they attempted to ignore him, started walking more quickly to get away from him and went straight into the school to report it. Chief Sealth staff called the police, who responded quickly to take a statement. The police will be in the area, along with extra school staff, during dismissal and arrival times as they follow-up on this incident.

As a precaution, we are reminding our scholars about walking safety tips. We would appreciate your help by having a similar conversation at home. The walking safety advice includes:

• Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid “automatic pilot.”
• Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
• Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
• Stick to well-lit areas.
• Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
• If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
• Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
• Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
• Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
• Avoid walking alone at night. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
• Immediately report anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).

As always, thank you for your help and partnership!


Jeff Clark, Principal, Denny International High School
Aida Fraser-Hammer, Principal, Chief Sealth International High School

That’s the same area where SDOT cut plans for pathway improvements, saying a developer will likely have to make them within “several years.” That will be discussed at tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting, 6:15 pm Tuesday at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW).

PS: While processing this for publication, we also received a copy directly from the principals.

12 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Students approached while walking to school"

  • WSMom October 2, 2017 (3:09 pm)

    A friend of mine told me last week that children were approached at Gatewood recently also and the police were called.  I never heard anything about this incident.  Is it true?

    • E October 2, 2017 (3:18 pm)

      September 25, 2017

      Dear Gatewood families,

      It has been an exciting start to school, and with students walking to and from school or their bus stops, there may be situations that challenge their personal safety.   

      I want to take this opportunity to highlight a recent incident where a student responded successfully to a situation and share that we are working with students to ensure they maximize personal safety.  

      On the way home from school Friday, one of our students was contacted by a stranger sitting in a parked car several blocks off school grounds. The student responded appropriately and remained safe. 

      The Seattle Police Department were contacted and responded immediately. As of this morning, they continue gathering information and are working closely with the District’s Safety and Security Department. Although there was no physical attempt to get the student into the car, we wanted to make sure that parents are alerted.  

      To ensure students feel safe and are safe, Gatewood staff will be discussing personal safety with our students. During these discussions, our goal is to allow students to talk about their concerns and give them additional personal safety skills.

      You can also help your student simply by listening to and talking with them. The Seattle Police Department has an excellent resource that may be helpful in family discussions. Select this link to access the Youth Safety Tips page. 

      We hope you will call us if we can help in any way.  


      Kyna Williams, Principal

      • WSB October 2, 2017 (3:31 pm)

        Thanks – we have been out for a while and I was going to search SPD Twitter soon as we got home … you’ve saved me the trouble. If we had heard about that, we would have reported it. We REALLY appreciate parents forwarding us these types of letters – last time I talked with SPS about it, it did not seem to be a requirement for principals to share such information with the community beyond their parents/guardians mailing list, so we REALLY appreciate that the Denny/Sealth principals reliably do. Lot of principal changes so perhaps it would behoove me to e-mail them all, making this request. As I’ve said before … a lot of police activity does not take place on the scanner … calls are sent directly to officers’ screens sometimes … or, they could be mentioned briefly over the air while the listener’s scanner is stopping on another channel. – TR

        P.S. I have excised the boilerplate from the bottom of what you cut and pasted because it appeared to include a link that, if clicked by anyone reading, would have unsubscribed you from the SPS messages.

  • Al October 2, 2017 (3:47 pm)

    These students may need cellphones to call 911 on the spot.  

    • Wsres October 2, 2017 (4:08 pm)

      They all likely already have them, except for young ones like kindergarten, first grade, etc.

  • Wsres October 2, 2017 (4:05 pm)

    This has been happening off and on for the last five years.. minors being approached, robbed, groped, flashed, etc. I ‘m not making this up, the wsb has covered these incidents from Lafayette to Sealth. It’s sad and I wish there was more citizens could do besides call police. Wish police could patrol more.

  • JRR October 2, 2017 (5:31 pm)

    And yet SDOT is ok with not doing half the project to add walkways in this high traffic, low visibility area? Come to the Westwood Roxhill Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting tomorrow to make your thoughts about this known. 6:15 at the southwest branch.

  • Anonymous October 2, 2017 (8:01 pm)

    I don’t know how feasible this is, but I’d love to see a lot more security cameras around our local schools. If a car is involved, put out an alert similar to the amber alert with vehicle info and physical appearance of these disgusting people.

    As mentioned most kids have cell phones; I’d think police would drop everything to get these perverts behind bars.

    If caught, what are the sentences? I’d say stick them on McNeil with strong sentences and no parole. That might help deter this sick behavior. If not, lock them up permanently.

    Sound aggressive? Not when your kid is walking to school and you want to make sure they are safe.

  • Mark October 2, 2017 (10:13 pm)

    Unacceptable.  Kids need to be kept safe.

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