Officials in Humble say children need to be especially cautious of people they do not know after several recent incidents.
At the neighborhood pool, this Labor Day weekend was as it should be, but Shannon Fairchild and his kids remember what happened just across the street last Wednesday morning.
"My daughter was in line at the bus stop and they noticed it," Fairchild said. "Luckily, some parents noticed the stranger with binoculars, lurking. And they called the cops."
Investigators arrested Brandon Brown and charged him with indecent exposure. It happened within a few blocks of Oaks Elementary.
"It's ridiculous kids can't go to school without having to worry about going to school," Mindy Snell said. "Going to school used to be fun."
Neighbors are angry because this wasn't a rare occurrence. In fact, it's just one of four "stranger danger" incidents to hit Humble ISD in the past week.
That same Wednesday afternoon, a seventh grader was approached by a man in a car. It happened in an area near Timberwood Middle School and Eagle Spring Elementary.
"It does seem like the last few weeks there has been incidents," Michelle Boorn said. "I don't know what else we can do other than watch out for each other."
Then last Thursday at Deerwood Elementary, a Houston police officer reported that a man 18-20 years old was acting suspicious. The man reportedly asked the officer for the location of the nearest elementary school.
The fourth incident happened Friday when a dark blue SUV slowed down and a man leaned out, trying to talk to two Humble Middle School students. Officials said the girls immediately ran away, so they did not hear what he said.
"Oh no, here we go again," Boorn said. "All we're trying to do is keep an eye out for each other, keep an eye out for the kids."
Fortunately, no children were harmed in any of the incidents. Parents tell us they are more vigilant than ever and are teaching their kids to stay safe.
"It's really good that schools are getting out the message and what the kids need to know," Fairchild said.
Humble ISD principals have sent alerts to parents, warning of the incidents and encouraging them to discuss stranger danger rules with their children.
The district suggests you go over the following with your kids:
- Walk to and from school in groups.
- If anything unusual occurs, tell an adult immediately. Parents and teachers need to know right away what happened.
- Never talk to strangers or accept rides from them.
- Don't panic. If you are afraid or have a problem, call a parent or a trusted adult.
- Arrange for immediate access to neighbors and other trusted adults who could answer questions or be contacted in an emergency.
- Tour the neighborhood with your child to identify safe and dangerous circumstances and places.
- Never tell people at the door or phone callers that you are home alone. Say your parents are busy and offer to take a message.
- Keep your house key hidden. Don't give it to anyone and don't keep it in a visible place that would tell people you are going home to an empty house.
- Never get into a car, enter a home, look for a lost pet, and accept candy or toys from an adult, unless your parents know what you are doing and have given you their permission first.
- Tell a trusted adult – parent, teacher or counselor – if anyone ever makes you feel uncomfortable. When children are abused, it often is by someone they know and trust.
If you see suspicious behavior, let school officials know. Call 911 for emergencies or call appropriate law enforcement authorities.