Confusion cleared amid report of child annoyance near Newhall schools

File photo of Placerita Junior High School (Dan Watson/The Signal)

Authorities have cleared the fog surrounding a letter sent out by school officials Thursday, concerning a possible child annoyance incident.

An emailed letter sent to parents of Placerita Junior High students stated an incident had occurred on Newhall Avenue, a thoroughfare shared by three Santa Clarita Valley schools.

The commotion surrounded a female Hart High student who was approached by a white male in his 60s near the school.

The man apparently had asked the young woman if she would go to lunch or the movies, the letter stated.

After the student refused his attempted communication, the elderly man left the scene.

School officials sent out the letter to parents shortly after the exchange, but before sheriff’s officials were notified, according to Santa Clarita station Lt. Bryan Aguilera.

When the station did get ahold of the letter, however, sheriff’s patrol units were dispatched to the scene out of an abundance of caution based solely on the email’s contents, Aguilera explained.

“We sent assigned school resource deputies to ensure students had a safe passage home,” he said.

There was no clear source of where the information about the incident came from as the school was unable to provide the sheriff’s station with the alleged victim’s name, the sheriff’s official explained.

“It was somewhat of hearsay,” the lieutenant said of the school’s statement, which is posted in its entirety below.

So, the crime fighters turned to social media for clues into who the young woman might be.

They eventually found a parent warning others about the incident that had taken place and involved their daughter.

Investigators contacted the person, who agreed to have a deputy come to their house to interview the child, Aguilera said.

“It looks like (the student) was contacted by an elderly white male who asked her a question which didn’t lead to the deputies to believe there was any malicious intent or intent to disturb or bother the child,” the lieutenant said.

At this point, investigators have determined no crime had occurred, but Aguilera did give advice to minors walking to and from school.

“They should always travel in pairs,” he said. “They should be aware of their surroundings and call 911 if they are approached and uncomfortable.”

Aguilera advised parents to engage with their children about safe practices when walking alone including remembering any information related to a person or vehicle’s description.

The letter sent out by Placerita Junior High officials is posted below in its entirety.

Dear Placerita Families,
We received word this afternoon that a female student from Hart High School was approached while walking home by a white male in his 60’s, wearing possibly a Marines logo hat, asking her to go to lunch or go to the movies. The man was walking alone, and left her after she refused. This occurred on Newhall Avenue. The Sheriffs were notified immediately and are currently investigating and patrolling the area. We had additional sheriff patrol cars circulating the neighborhood during dismissal, especially around Placerita.
An urgent message was also sent out out to our campus supervisors and administrators to keep their eyes open for any suspicious adults in the area, and for anyone matching this man’s description.
Please take some time this afternoon or evening to speak with your students reminding them to stay safe, walk with friends whenever possible, and find an adult immediately if they need help.
Thank you for your assistance so we can all keep our students safe!

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