Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00
Farmingdale School District officials are alerting parents to review safety concerns with their children, after last week, when a high school student reported that an unidentified male was following her while she walked home from school.
The individual, who had followed the student down Lincoln Street, also attempted to have a dialogue with the student, who entered her home safely and without incident.
The following day, both the parent and the student reported the incident to school administrators. In response, Farmingdale High School Principal Glen Zakian sent a letter to parents in the district, alerting them to the incident.
“Farmingdale continues to be a safe place to live and work,” Zakian says in his letter. “However, it is always a good idea to periodically review safety concerns with your children.”
Despite the fact that school administrators were the first to be alerted of the incident, Nassau County Police Det. Vincent Garcia said he could not find any indication that the police were notified.
“The family apparently notified the school, but never reported it to us,” Garcia said.
While police had not been privvy to the incident, Farmingdale Schools Superintendent John Lorentz said that since the incident did not happen on school grounds and had not been observed by anyone at the school, it was the obligation of the student or parent involved to report the incident to police.
“Our obligation is to notify the students and parents,” Lorentz said. “We can’t make a statement on behalf of the student.”
Although the district could not comment as to why the unidentified student had not reported the incident to police, school district officials assured parents that the safety and well-being of all students continues to be the school district’s number one priority.
“We encourage parents and guardians to use the letter as an opportunity to talk to their children and educate them on what to do and how to respond if they become uncomfortable with a stranger,” Lorentz said.
In the initial letter to parents, Principal Zakian stressed the importance for parents to have a conversation with their children about not talking with strangers and to bring any concerns they might have to an adult in school or at home.
“Whether walking to and from school, riding their bikes or going to the park, it is extremely important that we teach our children to be aware of their surroundings at all times in order to keep themselves safe,” Zakian said.