Concerned parents playing it safe

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 05:00 21/11/2012
concerned parents
Natasha Martin

Search for information: Police conduct a check outside Oceanview Heights School in the hope of receiving more information from pupils, parents and caregivers into the apparent abduction and assault of a 9-year-old boy last week.

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Parents at Oceanview Heights School are taking no chances with their children's safety following a suspected abduction and assault of a pupil leaving school last week.

Keryn Wright, who has a son and two daughters at the school, said she was reacting "the way most parents would, really".

"Just a lot more cautious. I'm just making sure the kids go into the classroom before I leave and being here when school finishes."

Her son, Brandon, 11, usually travelled to school by himself on his scooter but she no longer let him.

"Since that's happened I've made him stay with me."

She said she was talking honestly with her children to help them understand what had happened.

"I thought as a parent you need to tell them that there are a...holes out there.

"They just ask questions because they're young and they don't really understand that."

One of her daughters was friends with the assaulted boy.

She said it had been a "shock", especially because it had happened in Timaru.

Another parent, Phillipa Watson, said it had been "totally unexpected".

"My kids have been coming to the school for 12 years. You don't expect it in this area at all."

She said the school was doing everything it could for the kids.

"We're just working as hard as we can to keep our kids safe."

Her children had been "quite quiet" about the incident but she was talking to them as needed.

"I don't want to put the heebie-jeebies up them."

Helen Chapman was at the school to pick up a pupil she looks after two afternoons a week.

"His mum told him not to leave the school gate until I got there," she said.

Her 12-year-old son is a pupil at Gleniti School who bikes to meet her in Selwyn St and she was warning him to stay away from strangers. "I (told him) keep biking. You just say you can't stop, and keep going."

Oceanview Heights School principal Jenny Langley said procedures had tightened at the school.

Support from other schools had been "magnificent", she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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