West Seattle parents say it’s time to mobilize, stake out schools to protect kids

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SEATTLE — Police squad car lights and news vans are becoming a common sight in West Seattle after six reports of flasher or lewd conduct incidents near schools in recent weeks. Now, some parents say it’s time for them to get involved by taking shifts and staking out the elementary and middle schools.

“To have this many (incidents), it is bothersome,” parent Michael Nelson said Thursday night.

childs“As a parent, it’s concerning,” added parent Loren Wells.

“After the third or fourth (incident), it’s like, wow, regardless of her age, I really am going to have to pay attention,” parent Becky Patterson said.

Parents cannot get over the number of scares. Six confirmed reports so far at four different West Seattle Schools.  In most of these cases, a man exposed himself to middle-school girls.

“Prepare yourself for danger, perhaps; I’m sure the flasher is real. He is out there, but being afraid of it is optional,” parent Jen Giomi said.

Some parents say enough is enough, it’s time to mobilize instead of worrying.

“There has got to be a forum, so parents can work together,” said Wells.

They can no longer sit back and wait for an arrest. Some parents say they want to form a watch group that would take turns keeping an eye on area schools for flashers and potential predators.

“Have more of them on site, but not just at the schools, but throughout local areas,” said Patterson.

“Hope everyone can be vigilant,” said Wells.

Michael Nelson’s kids attend Hope Lutheran, where early this month a 10-year-old girl said she ran from a man who was trying to lure her into his car.

“The schools are all talking to each other; they know what’s going on,” Nelson said.

While the schools share information, parents like Nelson are holding their kids tight and asking all the right questions.

“We talk about it all the time now, so they are both aware,” Nelson said of her children.

With Halloween just around the corner, parents are even more on edge.

On Thursday afternoon, police officers responded to Gatewood Elementary School in the 4300 block of SW Myrtle Street after a 6-year-old student there reported she had seen a man abduct a girl and drive off in a pickup truck with her. But Seattle police said Thursday night that, while they were still investigating, they had found no evidence that a crime had been committed.

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