Keeping children safe at bus stops

Keeping children safe at bus stops

Two individuals with facemasks allegedly harassed a child at their bus stop in Ocean Pines Tuesday, causing police to prop up enforcement at stops, and causing parents to reiterate safety rules to their kids.

Ocean Pines Police Chief David Massey says the incident may have been inspired by the movie "It," or Halloween, but he isn't taking any chances.

"We take it seriously, so we're taking additional officers at the bus stops, and asking the school board and the bus drivers to report suspicious activity."

The steps taken by the police are welcomed by parents like Michele Dietz.

"That's a good thing. I think there should be more. I think there should be more escorts and there should be more police presence in the neighborhood to make sure our kids are safe."

Dietz, a mother of two, says some parents she knows have become more cautious.

"I do know other parents have had to change their routine, have had to make sure they've been to the bus stops in the morning."

The school board Dietz' children attend took immediate action, sending pamphlets home with kids.  But she's also taking action, like other parents, by reinforcing some simple rules.

"They know that if someone, any suspicious activity they are to find someone they know, or to come home or to find me."

Many residents say they heard of the encounter through ocean pines exchange, a Facebook group.  Chief Massey says police were not notified until two hours following the incident, but thanks to social media, the entire community can take those extra steps to prevent a potential tragedy.

"It's good to know that everyone in Ocean Pines has each other's backs and that they're watching out for one another."

Police and parents we spoke with also offered a few other tips for keeping your children safe, those include, having a buddy system, creating a safe walking plan, and establishing safe houses your child can go to if approached while walking to their stop.

Police are asking the public to call them immediately with information or if they see any suspicious activity.

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