PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) –Three incidents of strangers trying to lure kids in just three weeks, all near the same Phoenix elementary school. The school district is warning parents to stay vigilant.

The principal of Westwood Elementary School sent a letter to parents Monday in response to an unusual incident one family experienced Monday morning.

[WATCH: 3 'stranger danger' incidents reported near same Phoenix school]

According to Theresa Killingsworth’s letter, a man posing as a Westwood teacher knocked on the door of the family’s home and told them he was there to take their daughter to school.

“The person was described as a tall, chubby, brown-skinned Hispanic male with a beard, wearing glasses, and speaking Spanish,” the letter explained. 

[SEE: April 15, 2019 letter]

The Alhambra Elementary school district confirms it would never send a teacher to escort a child to school. 

"You should always question, ask their name, ask for identification, but most importantly never send your children with someone you don't know," said Linda Jeffries with the Alhambra Elementary School District.

She also explained that administers might occasionally visit a student’s home, but it’s always a planned visit, and the administrator will show identification.

It was not the first time a suspicious person had tried to take a child in that same neighborhood, according to the school. 

Westwood sent another letter home Tuesday after "a suspicious man tried to lure a neighborhood girl into his vehicle this morning on the way to school."

[SEE: April 16, 2019 letter]

The principal provided a description of the person -- an Asian man in his 30's driving a white truck with the word "Royal" on the back.

The letter was similar to one she sent home after another luring incident on March 27.

The suspect in that case is a man with brown skin and black hair. He was wearing black gloves with red palms and driving a two-door tan car with a black grill.

[SEE: March 27, 2019 letter]

"Our top priority is always the safety of our students whether they're in our care or to and from school. and so to know that there are individuals out in our community who are targeting our children, it is especially unnerving to us," said Jeffries.

All three times, students and parents did the right thing and called police.

"We teach her a safety word every week and it changes up so if a stranger would come up and they don't know the safety word she knows better not to go with the person," said parent Alex Rodriguez, speaking of his 6-year-old daughter.

But the frequency of these encounters is starting to rattle parents.

"It's pretty scary to think about someone trying to come up and try to take the kids or try to talk to them," said Rodriguez.

The school district advises students to:

• Always be aware of their surroundings

• Report suspicious activity immediately

• Never walk alone, always in pairs or with a group

• Do not speak or respond to strangers

And it asks its parents to: 

• Keep an eye on children playing outside

• Teach children it's OK to say 'no.' 

• Keep updated photographs of their children

If you have any questions about the school's policies and procedures, particularly about home visits, please call the school at 602-242-2442.

Part of the Alhambra Elementary School DistrictWestwood Elementary is a K-4 school with an enrollment of roughly 900.

[MAP: Westwood Elementary School, 4711 N. 23rd Ave., Phoenix]


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(8) comments


be careful on the west side. Note that is where 99% of stuff happens.


I'm a mom of 03 girls and two of them students at Westwood and one student at Simpson and this has been one of the most scariest and unrealistic things that I ever expected to happen to us to be afraid for my girls to get to and from school luckily I have the means and the time to be able to supervise their getting and coming home from school but not all parents are that lucky I think one of our biggest problems here in this neighborhood is that we have a halfway house down the street from the school really in walking distance and in the mail at least a couple times a week I get sex offender notices from majority of them that live in that halfway house I mean I think that was the worst idea that could have ever had was to put it right near our elementary and middle school!!!


The big problem would be someone speaking Spanish claiming to be a teacher. You can bet he is an illegal invader looking for a little girl to sell south of the border. Oh you can bet that many teachers do speak spanish - but not as a primary language, After all the is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, not the UNITED STATES OF MEXICO - yet anyway.


I wonder if the three suspects we're working together. The worst part about this is that these guys really had some very bad plans for these kids. I hope they do not get a child.


So, parents need a letter from the Principal telling them NOT to send their kids to school with some random person? Seriously - sterilization is the answer for most of these dumb parents.


Ironically the kid would probably get a better education than from a real teacher...#redforedisdead


Teachers are frustrated by the system they have to work within. Its nuts! Every one of them I've talked to (quite a few) are unhappy with how schools are underfunded, they're little more than education bots, and the system is rigged so that all the kids can't be helped to reach their potential. They have to help the middle-ability kids the most, so they can get the test scores by which teacher performance is evaluated. The really able students, and the bottom students are largely left alone, since their test scores will be respectively good or bad regardless of what the teacher does. Teaching is about moving the "normal" part of the curve, when it comes to test scores. It's no longer about educating.


nuusmaan - I've heard the same story from teachers I know. Sad state of affairs for sure.

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