Volunteers to guard children
Our Lady of Fatima primary school, at Caringbah in south-west Sydney, is one of a number of local schools to act following a spate of attempted child abductions are considering recruiting parents to patrol school gates.
The Daily Telegraph reports that two attempted snatches in the past fortnight - one of which is caught on CCTV - have the suburb of Caringbah on alert.
Our Lady of Fatima sent a letter home to parents yesterday urging them not to let children wait to be picked up in car parks and laneways outside school grounds due to the attacks.
The Catholic Education Office is considering recruiting volunteers to patrol pick-up and drop-off points at the area's primary schools.
"We may even seek some volunteers from our parent community, particularly in relation to our primary schools, to assist supervision of younger children," Catholic Education southern regional director Peter Turner said.
The fear and suspicion prompted by the two attacks has reached such a point that rumours of abductions for cult sacrifices - which police discount - are sweeping the Sutherland Shire.
"We've always considered this to be a safe family area but this has definitely put everyone on high alert," mother of two young boys Lenita Kannis said.
The panic began with the attempted abduction of a nine-year-old boy on October 14.
The Our Lady of Fatima student was walking with his siblings along Northcote Ave about 3.30pm when a man in a yellow 4WD grabbed him by his backpack.
The boy fell while trying to escape and the man drove off.
The second abduction attempt, which police have yet to positively link to the first, occurred at 8.30am on Monday.
A 13-year-old Year 7 student from De La Salle College was taking a shortcut through Burns Lane with some friends when he received a call on his mobile telephone.
An attacker struck when he fell behind his friends.
The man grabbed him by the backpack and tried to drag him inside a white 4WD drive, saying: "Come on, get in the car."
The boy struck out at the abductor and twisted out of his grip.
The boy was able to describe his attacker in detail and gave police a partial registration number.
Police yesterday released a Comfit image of the man wanted for the second attack.
They believe the man was driving a white Toyota Landcruiser or similar vehicle with chrome running boards, tinted windows and possible damage to the driver's side mirror.
Volunteers to guard children (Daily Telegraph 26/10/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Our Lady of Fatima, Caringbah
Priest reflects concern about sex shop near school (CathNews 7/4/05)
Unity College Opens Door for Year Four Students (Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane 25/10/05)
26 Oct 2005