Parents discuss Oakland elementary school assaults with police

Oakland parents and police have devised a plan to keep kids safe in light of separate assaults at two elementary schools.
March 13, 2014 10:18:55 PM PDT
For the second day in a row, parents are demanding a safer environment for their kids. On Thursday, it was standing room only at a school meeting. This follows a Jan. 28 assault on the campus of Think College Now Elementary School and another incident last Friday at World Academy Elementary on 28th Avenue.

Thursday's meeting was organized by the parents of students at this school. They say they understand when police say it requires more than just police action to make change. So they devised a three point plan of action. And city leaders say it's not only doable, but it can work.

School has been dismissed, but the lessons these students learn will extend beyond their World Academy classrooms

"They are gonna put cameras, there are gonna be officers around the block," parent Erika Solano said.

Solano is just one parent excited about a new three point plan designed to protect children from predators. In addition to a commitment from city leaders like Noel Gallo to install surveillance cameras, the Oakland Police Department will add an extra patrol to the area. And parents will begin foot patrols to walk the little ones to and from school.

"I'll become a volunteer," one parent said.

On Wednesday, Oakland police released a sketch of a man they suspect of committing lewd acts on the school grounds. Two students were his victims.

The crime was first reported at Think College Now Elementary on International Boulevard in Jan. The most recent happened last week, at World Academy, prompting a call to action from parent Guadalupe Gomez.

"I say, hey wait a minute, we need to organize the community," she said.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male, 20 to 40 years old, 6 feet tall, 180 to 200 pounds, black hair and mustache, with a rash or birthmark on his forehead. A flyer of the suspect sketch was handed to every parent in attendance. "We had almost 400 parents in the auditorium," Captain Orozco said. That's a lot of extra eyes and ears on the street and a lot of people to whom Captain Orozco will be accountable. When asked what success will mean when he meets with them again on April 4, Cap. Orozco answered, "That this guy is in custody and that he's behind bars." Now the men and women in blue not only have a plan, but some extra help.

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