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Child approached by stranger near elementary school in Jension

Posted: 8:07 AM, Sep 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-16 09:24:07-04

JENISON, Mich. -- The superintendent of Jenison Public Schools is sending a warning to families in Jenison and Hudsonville after a student was approached by a stranger in the vicinity of Rosewood Elementary School.

The incident happened Sunday night while a Rosewood student was playing near the school, 2370 Tyler Street in Jenison, according  to school officials.

Superintendent Tom TenBrink said in a letter emailed to parents that the student was approached by an older white man driving a small red pickup truck with a black stripe.

The older man allegedly told the student that he talked with her mother and it was okay if she went to lunch with him.

The student immediately told an adult what happened and deputies were called to the scene. Deputies are now increasing patrols in the area until the man can be located.

All of the principals at every building have been notified and will be doing their part to keep children safe.

TenBrink says this is a good opportunity to remind your children they should never willingly go with any stranger at any time for any reason.

Letter to parents:

September 15, 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am sending this message to you tonight with an abundance of caution for all of our children in the Jenison/Hudsonville communities. I was made aware that this afternoon a Rosewood student, while in the vicinity of Rosewood Elementary School, was approached by an older white male who was driving a small red pickup truck with a black stripe. Evidently, the older man told this student that he had talked with her mother and it was okay if she went to lunch with him. I am relieved and very proud of this student for immediately seeking out a trusted adult and reporting what happened.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department is well aware of this situation and will be stepping up their patrol in our area until the vehicle and driver are located. All of our building principals have been notified and will be doing their part to keep our children safe, whether at school or in our neighborhoods. Our transportation director is communicating with all of our bus drivers so they can keep a watchful eye out for any vehicle and driver that matches the description provided. One of our school police officers will be starting each morning this week at Rosewood Elementary to provide a strong police presence. I will also be at Rosewood Elementary tomorrow morning to support Principal VerBeek as he takes all the necessary precautions to provide a safe environment for all of his students.

Please use this opportunity to remind your children they should never willingly go with any stranger at any time for any reason. Should they ever be approached by a stranger, they should immediately seek out a trusted adult and report what happened. We can never be too cautious in preparing our children for situations like the one our student encountered this afternoon.

Spread the word to family and friends who live in our area to be on the lookout for a vehicle and driver matching the description provided above. Don’t hesitate to contact the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department with tips that could help them locate the driver of this vehicle.

Thank you in advance for being vigilant in keeping all of our children safe in our communities.

Tom TenBrink

Superintendent