Middle school administrators in Arbutus and Catonsville sent a letter on the evening of May 3 informing parents about an April 26 incident that has spread rumors over Facebook and in the community.
According to Arbutus Middle School principal Michelle P. Feeney, at around 7:20 a.m., an eighth grader waiting at a bus stop at Edmondson Avenue and Greenlow Road was approached by a man driving a gold car who asked for help getting to the gas station down the street.
"He asked him to help push the car," Feeney said. "The man didn't threaten [the student]. He didn't ask him to get in the car. He just asked him to help push the car to the gas station."
When the student arrived at school, he notified the school resource officer (SRO)--a Baltimore County police officer assigned to the school--who in turn filed a report at Precinct 1/Wilkens.
"The way it sounded, it could have been suspicious or not," Feeney said. "The kid did the right thing, and the SRO did the right thing."
Feeney said that concerned parents have been calling and emailing the school all day, with many saying they heard that a student had been abducted.
"I'm hearing some very interesting rumors, and concerned that some people aren't getting their facts right," she said. "This has the potential of alarming people to the extent that it can get out of hand."
Feeney described the incident as "a kind of offhand thing" that is "an isolated incident."
During daily announcements of the school's public address system, Feeney today reminded students not to talk to any strangers or approach strange cars.
In the Connect-Ed message distributed by email and voice mail Thursday evening from Arbutus and Catonsville middle schools, officials sent the following statement:
I am writing to inform you of an incident that has occurred affecting our school community. Recently, it was reported that a male in a gold vehicle approached a student on Edmondson Avenue before school. After the child reported this incident, Baltimore County Police were notified and began an investigation. The child is safe, and we applaud this student’s quick thinking by letting parents know about this occurrence.
This incident reminds us of the importance of talking with your child(ren) about “stranger danger.” You can find a list of safety tips about stranger danger on the Baltimore County Public Schools web site at http://www.bcps.org/offices/sss/pdf/Kid-Safety-Flyer.pdf. Please remember to contact the police (call 911) if you see any suspicious activity in your neighborhood.
The safety and security of students is a top priority of Arbutus Middle School and the Baltimore County Public Schools. With your help, we can strive for the well being of our students and provide for them a safe and welcoming learning environment each and every day.