CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man accused of attempting to lure kids into his truck at a bus stop last week is described as a black male around 30 years old with dreads, police said Tuesday.
A Charlotte mother is taking issue with school officials she says didn't listen when her children told teachers about the incident.
"I definitely think the school needs to contact the parents immediately," Julie Kasey said. "I think the bus driver should have contacted somebody immediately. You can't have your kids being afraid."
Kasey said Friday morning her two sons, ages seven and nine, were waiting at the school bus stop at the corner of Mantle Court and Hammett Street when a man pulled up.
"Apparently somebody in a white van offered them $20 and had the 20-dollar bill in hand and said to get in the truck – they could have it," Kasey said.
Police said the driver was in a white truck and approached children Friday and Saturday. The driver reportedly attempted to give the children money on both occasions.
Kasey says her older son told her he became alarmed and told his younger brother to run. Kasey said both boys ran to a neighbor's house. The boys told Kasey the neighbor walked them and his kids to the bus stop.
While on the school bus, her older son told the bus driver but he says the bus driver told him to tell his teacher.
Kasey says when her sons arrived at Oakhurst Steam Academy they told their teachers.
"Four teachers were told," she said. "And I did not hear back from anybody and I did not find out until Friday afternoon when they got home."
Kasey says when her boys told her what happened, she called police and notified neighbors.
"I got really scared. I put it on NextDoor [app]. I don't want this happening to anybody else," she said. "Kids see a $20 bill, it's better than candy. So yeah, I definitely don't want anybody scared like that."
Monday morning, the mother went to Oakhurst school to find out why she wasn't notified.
"I told them there should be some policy in place so a parent could know something. I would not have let them ride the bus home Friday. I would not let be upset that long and they say they would get back to me," Kasey said. "Even just to shoot me an email so I can go up to the school and find out exactly what happened then. I think it's important."
Charlotte Mecklenburg School officials says they're "checking on the case to determine best practices for students at school bus stops."
A spokesperson for the District said, in part, "the students did exactly what they should have done at the moment, they felt uncomfortable and went to a trusted adult, which turned out to be the neighbor."
The school continued, "When an incident does not occur at a CMS school, we would recommend parents to encourage a child to share with the parent any incident that makes them feel uncomfortable in their neighborhood. Parents who feel their children are uncomfortable at a bus stop should make arrangements for an adult or guardian to wait at a school bus stop with a child, until the bus arrives."
CMPD says they are making community members aware of the incident but say at this time no crime has been committed.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
Police suggest the following safety tips to parents:
- Instruct your child to never take a ride from any strangers even if the person says that they are there to pick them up because their mom or dad sent them.
- Instruct your child on how to contact the Police Department, Fire Department or Ambulance by dialing 911 and how to contact a known family member or responsible trustworthy neighbor or adult should an emergency arise.
- Check your child's route to and from school. Call attention to any dangerous spots such as vacant lots, alleyways, etc. Advise them what to do if a strange person follows or approaches them.
- Instruct your child's school to notify you immediately if your child is absent. Inform the principal who is authorized to pick your child up from school. Try to have the same person pick your child up every day when possible.
- Choose a secret code word to use with your child in case of an emergency. Tell your child never to go with anyone who does not know this code word.
- Advise your child what to do if they feel lost. Help them to identify the safest place to go or person to ask for help in reuniting them with you or other caregiver. Examples of safe helpers could be a uniformed law-enforcement or security officer, store salesperson with a nametag, person with a nametag who is working at the information booth.