An unidentified woman tried to lure a child away from Roosevelt Elementary School after the first day of school last week.

According to a notice sent out by the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, the woman tried to persuade a student to leave campus with her but the student notified a school employee and remained on campus.

“One of our students was waiting to be picked up by his parent and an unwanted female visitor entered the 9th St. gate,” said a letter from Principal Lynda Holeva. “She spoke to our student to persuade him to come with her. Our student refused and went to a Playground Access adult to get help with calling his mother. His mother came to school immediately and reported the incident to the police and to me. I have documented and reported to the Santa Monica Police Dept. as well, and have requested extra patrols at drop off and dismissal times.”

Roosevelt sits on Montana Ave. between Lincoln and 9th Streets. The school has a parking lot at the corner of Alta and 9th with a gate facing 9th Street. SMMUSD said the student was waiting near that gate but was on campus at the time of the incident.

Holeva said she has implemented additional safety protocols for Roosevelt Students. Teachers will be provided with a list of students that wait for parents/guardians, students that are not picked up within 10 minutes will call parents from the classroom to say they will be waiting inside the front office, any remaining students will be walked to the front office by staff.

Holeva said parents will have to come into the office to pick up their child.

“Students are not allowed to remain unattended while waiting for parents outside the Lincoln and 9th St. gates,” she said. “Any students not picked up within 10 to 15 minutes are brought to the office. Even if a student resists going to the office, and tells us that their parents are always late and they will be there any minute, the student will be brought to the office. The student will call their parent and let them know they are to be picked up from the office. You will need to pick up your child from the front office.”

SMMUSD Community & Public Relations Officer Gail Pinsker said students are given instructions on safety procedures as part of their education at SMMUSD schools.

“All of our schools regularly talk about safety and security and response and we encourage parents to have those conversations as well,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said the District had preplanned some communications to parents about general school safety that will be sent out soon.

“The safety and security of our students and staff is our top priority,” he said. We continue to evaluate all school site security and have a letter going out to parents this week that explains our plans. We continue to work with our law enforcement partners and city leaders on these efforts.”


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Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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