Students warned of 'stranger danger'

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

While officials at Mary Hopkins School in Waterdown admit it could be an innocent event, they decided to err on the side of caution by issuing a notice to parents about a man recently spotted while taking photos near the school's playing field.

Principal Kelly Rizzo said the action was taken to ease parents' concerns and let them know that "staff is being vigilant while on duty" at recess times. Written notices were sent home with students last Tuesday in reaction to pictures being taken the morning of November 3 by a man who had stopped his silver car on the west side of Main Street North opposite a large field at the school. The camera was pointed in the direction of the students.

The stranger was observed taking several photographs while standing outside his parked car during the school's morning nutrition break, which runs from 10:30 to 11:10 a.m. Students became suspicious and reported the man to a teacher. Apparently, the stranger stayed only a few minutes before leaving the area. The teacher reported the incident to the Hamilton Police Service.

Stuart Oakley, public relations officer for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, described the event as "a dangerous stranger" incident. He explained that the procedure in such cases involves calling the police to investigate. The police determine what course of action to take, including whether written notices should be sent out to parents in the school area affected as well as those in adjacent school neighbourhoods.

In this case, there was no specific direction from police, who determined that nothing illegal had happened as the man wasn't on school property and was entitled to take photos. Rizzo acknowledged that the man might have stopped to take photos of the trees with their autumn leaves in bloom, but "It was just a little bit odd," she added.

To ease any concerns aroused by the incident, Rizzo took the proactive path and sent out notices to parents of students at the school.

"We don't want to create undue panic," Oakley said of the incident. However, since parents would likely hear about the stranger from students, the school principal decided a notice should be sent out to allay any concerns.

Rizzo said students are encouraged to report anything that is out-of-the-ordinary.

On August 20, a man about 45 to 50 years old with grayish black hair approached a seven-year-old girl who was playing with another child near the play structures in Memorial Park, just up the street from the playing field at Mary Hopkins School. The man "patted" the girl before exposing himself to her. The girl and her friend ran to an adult nearby but the suspect disappeared before anyone could confront him.

The man was described as 5'10" or 5'11" tall and was allegedly carrying a camera case.

There is no confirmation that the incidents are connected. The man spotted near Mary Hopkins School is believed to be younger and is described as having dark hair.

Anyone with information about either event is asked to contact the Mountain station at 905-546-4930 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Students warned of 'stranger danger'

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

While officials at Mary Hopkins School in Waterdown admit it could be an innocent event, they decided to err on the side of caution by issuing a notice to parents about a man recently spotted while taking photos near the school's playing field.

Principal Kelly Rizzo said the action was taken to ease parents' concerns and let them know that "staff is being vigilant while on duty" at recess times. Written notices were sent home with students last Tuesday in reaction to pictures being taken the morning of November 3 by a man who had stopped his silver car on the west side of Main Street North opposite a large field at the school. The camera was pointed in the direction of the students.

The stranger was observed taking several photographs while standing outside his parked car during the school's morning nutrition break, which runs from 10:30 to 11:10 a.m. Students became suspicious and reported the man to a teacher. Apparently, the stranger stayed only a few minutes before leaving the area. The teacher reported the incident to the Hamilton Police Service.

Stuart Oakley, public relations officer for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, described the event as "a dangerous stranger" incident. He explained that the procedure in such cases involves calling the police to investigate. The police determine what course of action to take, including whether written notices should be sent out to parents in the school area affected as well as those in adjacent school neighbourhoods.

In this case, there was no specific direction from police, who determined that nothing illegal had happened as the man wasn't on school property and was entitled to take photos. Rizzo acknowledged that the man might have stopped to take photos of the trees with their autumn leaves in bloom, but "It was just a little bit odd," she added.

To ease any concerns aroused by the incident, Rizzo took the proactive path and sent out notices to parents of students at the school.

"We don't want to create undue panic," Oakley said of the incident. However, since parents would likely hear about the stranger from students, the school principal decided a notice should be sent out to allay any concerns.

Rizzo said students are encouraged to report anything that is out-of-the-ordinary.

On August 20, a man about 45 to 50 years old with grayish black hair approached a seven-year-old girl who was playing with another child near the play structures in Memorial Park, just up the street from the playing field at Mary Hopkins School. The man "patted" the girl before exposing himself to her. The girl and her friend ran to an adult nearby but the suspect disappeared before anyone could confront him.

The man was described as 5'10" or 5'11" tall and was allegedly carrying a camera case.

There is no confirmation that the incidents are connected. The man spotted near Mary Hopkins School is believed to be younger and is described as having dark hair.

Anyone with information about either event is asked to contact the Mountain station at 905-546-4930 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Students warned of 'stranger danger'

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

While officials at Mary Hopkins School in Waterdown admit it could be an innocent event, they decided to err on the side of caution by issuing a notice to parents about a man recently spotted while taking photos near the school's playing field.

Principal Kelly Rizzo said the action was taken to ease parents' concerns and let them know that "staff is being vigilant while on duty" at recess times. Written notices were sent home with students last Tuesday in reaction to pictures being taken the morning of November 3 by a man who had stopped his silver car on the west side of Main Street North opposite a large field at the school. The camera was pointed in the direction of the students.

The stranger was observed taking several photographs while standing outside his parked car during the school's morning nutrition break, which runs from 10:30 to 11:10 a.m. Students became suspicious and reported the man to a teacher. Apparently, the stranger stayed only a few minutes before leaving the area. The teacher reported the incident to the Hamilton Police Service.

Stuart Oakley, public relations officer for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, described the event as "a dangerous stranger" incident. He explained that the procedure in such cases involves calling the police to investigate. The police determine what course of action to take, including whether written notices should be sent out to parents in the school area affected as well as those in adjacent school neighbourhoods.

In this case, there was no specific direction from police, who determined that nothing illegal had happened as the man wasn't on school property and was entitled to take photos. Rizzo acknowledged that the man might have stopped to take photos of the trees with their autumn leaves in bloom, but "It was just a little bit odd," she added.

To ease any concerns aroused by the incident, Rizzo took the proactive path and sent out notices to parents of students at the school.

"We don't want to create undue panic," Oakley said of the incident. However, since parents would likely hear about the stranger from students, the school principal decided a notice should be sent out to allay any concerns.

Rizzo said students are encouraged to report anything that is out-of-the-ordinary.

On August 20, a man about 45 to 50 years old with grayish black hair approached a seven-year-old girl who was playing with another child near the play structures in Memorial Park, just up the street from the playing field at Mary Hopkins School. The man "patted" the girl before exposing himself to her. The girl and her friend ran to an adult nearby but the suspect disappeared before anyone could confront him.

The man was described as 5'10" or 5'11" tall and was allegedly carrying a camera case.

There is no confirmation that the incidents are connected. The man spotted near Mary Hopkins School is believed to be younger and is described as having dark hair.

Anyone with information about either event is asked to contact the Mountain station at 905-546-4930 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).