'Why wasn't anybody notified?': Parents sound off about suspicious activity
Written by Shelley Russell, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
The Waterloo Community School District confirmed the girl is a student at Lowell Elementary, but denied that the vehicle was ever in the parking lot. Still, some parents were upset because they weren't notified of the incident.
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
Waterloo Police said a man with a beard acted suspicious around a young girl near a school bus stop Thursday morning.
Captain Tim Pillack said a girl was waiting for the bus in the 500 block of Lakeside Street at around 8:11 a.m. when a man with a dark beard got out of a black SUV with Oklahoma plates and asked the girl what she was doing.
Pillack said when another vehicle pulled up to the bus stop, the man got back in the SUV and drove away.
He said the girl was not touched or hurt.
But he said the SUV was spotted about an hour later driving through the parking lot of Lowell Elementary.
The Waterloo Community School District confirmed the girl is a student at Lowell Elementary, but denied that the vehicle was ever in the parking lot.
Still, some parents were upset because they weren't notified of the incident.
"Why wasn't anybody notified? Why didn't they follow suit like Cedar Falls did?" asked Donette Tjabring, who has three children who attend Lowell Elementary School.
Tjabring said she received an automated message on her phone at 3 p.m. on Thursday, four hours after parents in Cedar Falls received an email alert.
"You think they'd be a little bit more proactive in it," said Tjabring. "You know with what happened in Evansdale to those girls. Let's be a little more proactive."
Meanwhile, the Waterloo Community School District stands by its decisions.
Director of Strategic Partnerships Crystal Buzza said the school district's priority was making sure all students were safe.
"Safety is always our number one priority for our school district," she said. "Keeping our kids safe is one thing, besides educating them, that we feel is very important."
Buzza said all elementary students were sent home with a letter that included tips on how to stay safe while getting to and from school. She said the information was also posted on the district's website Thursday afternoon.
Buzza said when it comes to sending out a message to the parents of the more than 10,000 students, it takes time.
She said the district has to make sure all messages are relayed in three languages: English, Spanish and Bosnian.
"We wouldn't want to speed anything out that wouldn't be correct information," she said. "Information is very powerful and making sure it's handled correctly and at the right timing is really important."
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