'Stranger danger' warning after children approached

By Sam Hurley

Havelock North parents and students have been sent a message from principals to be aware of stranger danger, after local police issued several reports concerning children being encouraged to enter a vehicle.

Te Mata Primary School principal Michael Bain said police had come to see him and other school principals on Monday.

"A group of kids were approached on Friday when they were participating in cross-country," Mr Bain said.

"Since then there has been a child approached on Monday and one on Tuesday morning."

The child who had been approached yesterday morning was a student at his school.

"The message is clear," he said. "Kids should travel in groups when travelling to and from school, but what we don't want is kids and parents to panic and stop walking, biking and scooting to school."

He said at this stage it was purely a precautionary measure to distribute leaflets to parents.

"It's one of those things that we don't want in our community. Every community seems to have these alerts at some stage and every community should have their aerials up and on the lookout for it."

Te Mata Primary School was among several issuing a leaflet for students to take home to their parents and caregivers.

Havelock North Intermediate acting principal Debbie Clifford said in her notice: "We have reiterated to students that if they see anything inappropriate happening, they need to walk away and seek help immediately. If they can gather any information such as plate numbers or letters, colour, make of car, if the car is clean/dirty - anything - that would help in an investigation.

"We ask that you take this time to review your practices of children going to and from school and talk to your children about the 'stranger danger' scenario."

Mr Bain said it was important for parents to tell schools if their child was away or late for any reason.

Havelock North and CIB police are investigating the matter.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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