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Student reports being touched by adult near Salem school, police increase patrols

File photo - Salem-Keizer School District

SALEM, Ore. – Law enforcement officers are increasing patrols around Salem-area schools after a student reported having a “troubling” run-in with an adult Tuesday morning while walking to school, district officials said.

The student told school officials that he was heading to school at about 8 a.m. when he passed a truck and felt an adult's hand on his shoulder.

Marion County deputies say a person sitting in a parked pickup truck touched a Houck Middle School student on the shoulder as he rode by on a scooter.

The boy hurried to school and immediately told staff members, who in-turn notified police.

According to the sheriff's office, the adult did not approach the child.

The district is working with law enforcement on patrolling areas before and after school hours.

The district's Director of Communications, Vivian Govus, says parents of students at both Houck Middle and Four Corners Elementary received notifications about a stranger-danger incident.

"Our biggest priority at all times is to ensure that we are communicating proactively, to let parents know that their most important thing, their child's safety, is protected," said Govus.

Parents should talk with their children about ways to stay safe while walking to and from school or the bus stop. Here are some pointers from Salem-Keizer Schools:

  • Reiterate how important it is for them to never go anywhere alone
  • Go over the route with your child
  • Point out safe places for them to go if they feel threatened
  • Tell them to avoid shortcuts through alleys or secluded areas
  • Teach your child to stay more than an adult arm's length away from any car that is occupied by a person trying to talk to him/her, so that they cannot be reached by the person inside the car
  • If someone encourages your child to get into a car, to help find a lost pet, or to leave with them for any reason, he or she should yell "NO" as loudly as possible and run to the closest adult whom they know and trust
  • Teach your child to run in the opposite direction from the one the car is facing. It is harder to drive in reverse than straight ahead
  • Remind your child to call 911 to report any attempted luring
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