Recent child luring attempts in Spokane

Eastern Washington Children’s Center takes steps to protect children in their care

Recent child luring attempts in Spokane

By Eric Long, News Writer

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child and that is no truer when it comes to protecting one, especially from child lurers.

 In the last couple of weeks, Spokane has been hit with four child-luring attempts. Each attempt was reported and police were involved. But this raises a question: how safe are children here on campus?

 Sophomore Satori Butler has a 3-yearold son who attends the EWU Children’s Center. After hearing the news of the recent child luring attempts in Spokane, she said it feels too close to home.

 “My son is so friendly,” said Butler, with a look of alarm on her face.

 She said her biggest issue is going in to pick her son up and no one being in the front office when she walks in.

 “My hope is that someone is at the front desk at all times,” said Butler.

 According to Kasey Bates, director of the EWU Children’s Center, “the key to protecting the children at the center is definitely staff training. We review our procedures annually with all staff.”

 The center’s policy is that children will only be released to their custodial parent or an authorized adult whose name is on the registration forms, when photo identification is presented. Signed consent from the custodial parent and identification must be presented if someone not on the authorized adult list comes in to pick up a child.

 Bates said that the staff knows how to respond to anyone they do not recognize or seems suspicious and that the staff has training from the campus police on what to look for and how to respond to intruders or violence on campus.

 Eastern is in the process of acquiring a code system to the front door of the children’s center. According to Bates, this system will require a code for entry that both parents and staff will know.

 According to Deputy Chief Gary Gasseling of campus police, there have not been any reports of child luring on campus that he knows of.

 Gasseling advises that students, faculty and guests on campus pay attention and report potential crimes as well as anything else that seems suspicious.

 When reporting an incident or suspicious activity, Gasseling urges that all information identifying a possible suspect is given. This includes estimated height, weight and age, any identifying articles of clothing and any tattoos or markings.

 Modes of transportation are also huge identifiers, especially in the event of a kidnapping. Be sure to include a license plate number if possible, type of transportation, brand and color.

 Both Gasseling and Bates said they feel that educating children about strangers is critical to their protection.

 “Where it is developmentally appropriate, teachers work with children on stranger awareness. It is important for parents to be talking to their kids about strangers. Parents should be appropriately honest with their kids about what a stranger is,” said Bates.

 Bates said it is important for kids to know several safe people they can go to if they need help. These people may include police officers, firefighters or teachers.

 Gasseling said it is important to teach kids about “stranger danger” and instruct kids to not take candy or other incentives from strangers.

 “No, Go, Yell, Tell” is recommended by the National Crime Prevention Association according to Bates. If a child is in a dangerous situation they should know to say no, run away, yell as loud as they can and tell a trusted adult.