2017-09-01 / Front Page

School officials urge parents, students to beware

Police are looking for a man who reportedly attempted to lure a teen into his truck earlier this week while she was walking home from school.

Around 2:30 p.m., Aug. 29, a girl was walking home from Simi Valley High School when a Hispanic man in a silver truck tried talking her into getting into the vehicle, Simi Valley Unified School District officials said in a letter sent to parents that day.

The teen ignored the man and continued walking. When he pulled his truck along the sidewalk, she ran home and reported the incident to her mother, who called police, the letter said.

Jason Peplinski, SVUSD superintendent, said whenever “any kind of weirdness” happens near schools, the district “errs on the side of being over-cautious and over-communicative.”

“Unfortunately, situations like this seem to be more common not just here but across Ventura County. Something similar happened recently in Camarillo,” Peplinski told the Simi Valley Acorn, adding SVUSD sent a similar letter last year.

“We don’t want to over-alarm parents, but they should always be concerned when their children are commuting to and from school, especially at the start of a school year, and not just for this but for all reasons.”

At this time, police have only the information provided in the Aug. 29 letter, Simi Valley Police Cmdr. Roy Jones said. “Right now, we have no other leads and don’t know of any other incidents or anything with the same vehicle.”

In light of the incident, police and school district officials are urging students to walk home in groups whenever possible and pay attention to their surroundings and traffic.

“When students walk home, they’re no longer under the school’s supervision, so we rely on the community to help watch them,” Peplinski said. “It takes all of us being vigilant to ensure students’ safety walking to and from school.”

Melissa Simon

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