West Shore student’s incident with stranger serves as safety reminder

Superintendent Jim Cambridge is reminding parents and students of safe practices.

An incident after school hours near the intersection of Jacklin Road and Goldstream Avenue has prompted Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge to remind parents and students of safe practices for student safety.

On Dec. 13, a student was walking home from an after-school activity shortly after 5 p.m. The student reported being grabbed from behind by a stranger, but the youth was able to get away safely and run home, after which the police were notified.

The incident serves as a reminder that it’s always good to be mindful of safe practices, Cambridge said.

“We just thought that it was an opportunity for us to make sure that we reinforce safe walking home behaviours,” he said.

In an e-mail sent out to parents on Dec. 14, Cambridge noted that kids walking home should be accompanied by friends or parents and guardians using the “buddy system,” and that students should keep their distance from strangers.

With short winter days continuing into the new year, it’s also an important time to emphasize safety for students walking home in the dark, he added. “I think kids are more anxious (this time of year) … if they’re in the company of other people they feel less frightened.”

Still, he emphasized that these are safe neighbourhoods on the whole and that it was important to keep that in mind.

“One of the things we always try to balance is the notion that schools are safe places and particularly that neighbourhoods … they’re good places to live,” he said.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com