Arlington ISD warns students about stranger danger

Arlington police are warning parents and students to be on alert after two separate incidents of someone grabbing children outside of schools.

Police say a man grabbed an 11-year-old girl on her way to school Friday morning before she was able to squirm away. That same day, a man got a 6-year-old boy to get into his car after school. That boy was also able to get away.

Arlington ISD sent out two letters warning parents about the two incidents outside Arlington schools. Police say the first happened before school on Friday outside Ditto Elementary near the intersection of Green Oaks and Arkansas.

Sgt. Vanessa Harrison with the Arlington Police Department says the girl texted a parent right before the man grabbed her from behind.

“She was able to fight this man off and get away,” said Harrison. “So we're just really thankful that she had the thought to fight him off."

Then, there was another encounter that same day after school outside Wimbish Elementary on Randol Mill Road. Police say a man asked a 6-year-old boy if he wanted a ride home. The boy accepted and got in. Police say the man became inappropriate with the boy and was able to escape.

"The little boy declined. He did not want any part of dealing with this man, and the man dropped him off, and this little boy rushed home,” explained Harrison.

Both children were walking home from school at the time. Harrison says they did the right thing and wants parents to talk to their children about reacting the same way -- fighting someone off, having a safe place to run to on their way home from school and using cell phones if they have them to check in with parents and provide a timeline for their trip home.

Parent David Perkins has had this talk with his daughters. One of them is even taking karate lessons.

"I said this day and age, you need to learn to protect yourself,” said Perkins. Even as small as she is, a kick or a punch or a scream will certainly deter and get somebody else involved."

Police say there could be two separate suspects in the encounters that happened Friday. The vague descriptions given by both children describe an older man, but the facial descriptions were different in each case.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Arlington Police Department.

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