In a brazen attempt at child abduction and child sexual assault, a man walked into the Lalumier Elementary School in the Cahokia Illinois School District this week, and upon seeing an eight-year-old female student drinking at a water fountain, and told her a teacher wished to speak to her outside. He then took her hand, walked her out of the building, and took her behind the school dumpsters, where he tried sexually assaulting the little girl. Luckily, a neighbor who lived across from the school saw the man on top of the little girl as he left his home. The neighbor realized immediately something was not right, and began to yell at the man. The attacker ran, the neighbor gave chase, and the little girl ran home.
Eventually police caught up with the attacker and identified him as a twenty-year-old registered sex offender. The sex offender, who was on house arrest, should have been wearing an ankle monitor to monitor if he was at his home location and at what times.When police located the ankle monitor, it showed obvious signs of forceful removed. The ankle monitor which is designed to alert officials if he leaves his place of residence is not equipped with GPS or global positioning system to track the sex offenders position of the offender due to financial constraints.
How secure is your child's school? This registered sex offender entered the school through a locked gymnasium door. The door although locked was not secure because the doorframe was bent. The next obvious question is how long has the doorframe been bent? How secure are the doors at your child's school? How many points of entry are there for strangers, sex offenders, or other people to enter your child's school? Many schools require a background check on any parent or adult who works, volunteers or helps in a school. What is your schools policy?
The Lalumier Elementary School is adding a dozen surveillance cameras to the school grounds to monitor the inside and outside activities. The schools new policy is to keep all the doors locked during the school day. The school now requires its employees to personally identify and escort in any visitors. Kudos to the Cahokia School district for taking quick action to beef up security measures as soon as it was evident there was a problem.
Finally, this is a child abduction lure I had not thought of and had not discussed with my children. Discuss with children that following the request of an authority figure like a teacher is not always a requirement if the action does not make sense to them or if they feel uncomfortable. Tell children it is ok to question an adult's action if they feel uncomfortable. They should ask another adult they trust if this is what they should be doing. In this case the girl's homeroom teacher, school nurse, or principal, would have been a good resource for her to run to and ask if this man was a teacher.
This student did nothing wrong, yet we can learn from her sad unfortunate experience. Thankfully a neighbor intervened, an angel among us, he probably saved her life. Thank-you our special friend, from one mother of two children in Missouri, god bless you!