Incidents involving students being followed

December 5, 2012

This information was sent to families earlier this afternoon via email and voicemail.

Dear OPRF High School Families:

We want to make you aware that the Oak Park Police Department has just informed us of several incidents of students being followed within the past 24 hours. Last evening a high school student was followed after leaving the high school, from Lake Street down Ridgeland Avenue to Julian Middle School. As she approached the middle school entrance, a staff person saw she was being followed and called the police. A short while ago, we were notified that an additional OPRF student as well as a Brooks Middle School student were followed this morning. District 97 will be sending information to its families shortly.

Oak Park Police are currently investigating the incidents and have a person of interest in custody. The police do not believe there is any further threat or danger for our students. However, in the interest of safety, we decided to keep all students on campus during fifth and sixth period lunch; fourth period lunch was just concluding as we learned of the incidents.

Police will be increasing their patrols of our safe walking routes. Incidents like this remind us all about the safety precautions children should take when they are walking around Oak Park, whether it is to/from school or on the weekends. Below are safety guidelines that have been compiled for students with the assistance of the police department.

  • When waiting for a ride, wait near the school building.
  • Always try to walk in groups or with at least one other person.
  • Walk on sidewalks and other open areas rather than alleys that have less visibility.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and any strangers who are nearby.
  • If you have a concern about another person near you, go to a neighbor’s house, find an adult to assist you, or go back to school.
  • Never approach a vehicle unknown to you even if the occupant speaks to you.
  • Yell loudly and run if you feel you are in danger.
  • Be sure to tell your parents if something happens. Parents should contact the police and the school.

Please take a few minutes to review and discuss these safety rules with your children. Thank you for your time, attention, and support on this important issue.

Karin Sullivan
Director of Communications & Community Relations