Attempted abduction at school is a rumour, sketchy photographer is not

Rumours began circulating on social media last week about an attempted child abduction near Phoenix school after a woman made a post on a local Facebook group claiming her daughter called her from school saying someone tried to take her.

School District 72 was quick to release a statement.

“It has come to our attention that there are some rumours circulating on social media claiming that there was an attempted abduction of an Ecole Phoenix Middle School student earlier today,” the statement read. “THIS IS INCORRECT.

“Earlier today, while walking back to Phoenix from a field trip at the Campbell River Museum, a vehicle passed several students in a manner that made them feel uncomfortable. The vehicle slowed and then sped off. Students were under the direct supervision of their teachers and at no time was a student spoken to or had any physical contact with a member of the public. Police have been notified.”

What was not a rumour, however, were the reports of a man in a dark van taking photos of students at Georgia Park Elementary.

On Dec. 16, a letter was sent out to parents of Georgia Park students saying one parent’s child was told to “smile for the camera,” by a man in a dark van.

“The student did not recognize the person as an adult connected to our school community and therefore, we are taking this incident very seriously,” the letter read. “While the man never left his vehicle and the student was unharmed, police have still been notified and are investigating.”

Staff ensured that students did not leave unaccompanied the day of the event, and supervision during outside activities has been increased.

“Ensuring our students’ safety is our top priority and in light of this incident, I would encourage you to take this opportunity to remind your children to never talk to or approach a stranger in a vehicle and to always walk to and from school with a buddy,” reads the letter from principal Kim Padington.

“We would also like to remind all parents and visitors to our school that you should not take pictures of students unless you are attending a public event (such as a school concert) or you are invited to do so by the teacher.”