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School Security Increases After Attempted Kidnapping In Kaufman

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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KEMP (CBSDFW.COM) - With the opening of schools just days away, the town of Kemp, in Kaufman County, is reeling with news of an apparent attempted kidnapping. “Everybody’s scared and worried about their children,” said Kemp Police Chief Jimmy Council. He said Monday’s attempted kidnapping at Kemp Junior High was unlike anything he has seen there.

Two young girls making spirit signs for cheerleading were cleaning paint brushes in the girl’s restroom of an auxiliary gym when it happened. David Dennis said one of them — his sister — left the other girl briefly but was concerned her friend didn’t follow. “So she went back in there and she said a guy had her by the arm and was trying to pull her out the door. And she screamed and the guy ran off.”

“That’s scary. I didn’t think that would happen in a small town like this.”

The attacker pushed his way through a set of double doors and then disappeared into the woods nearby. Neither girl was physically hurt, but it would take an hour and a half before the incident was properly reported to campus and city police. “So there was a breakdown there, and that was due to supervision,” according to Kemp school superintendent Sam Swierc. He promises the district will do a better job monitoring kids in all programs from now on. He said that this breakdown has been fixed. “A supervision concern and we have addressed that,” he said.

There were physical breakdowns, too. A camera that would normally shown the suspect on video was down, being rewired for the new school year. The girls say the man was a shorter, younger white male with blonde hair, moustache and light beard, wearing a gray shirt and light-colored Levis Jeans. Chief Council said the would-be victim did not know her attacker but felt confident she could identify him if she ever saw him again.

The little girl went to look at photo lineups at the  Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department but didn’t identify the suspect.

Chief Council said they are beefing up school security.

“We have contacted the constables’ office to assist us, and the Kaufman County Sheriff’s to see if they can provide us some extra help,” he said. Superintendent Swierc agreed. “We are going to be a safe and secure school system Monday and every day throughout the school year. Unfortunately, incidents like this happen. We are going to do a better job of monitoring all of our kids, all of our programs. Making sure that we don’t have this occurrence happen again. We feel like we have a great little school system here that’s always been safe and secure.”

The superintendent also sent out a note of explanation to parents today and he provided a copy to CBS 11 News. It reads as follows:

“I am providing information to you as parents, guardians, and patrons of students of Kemp ISD regarding an incident that occurred at Kemp Junior High this past Monday. The district, along with the City of Kemp Police Department and the Kaufman county Sheriff’s Department, is continuing their investigation of an unknown unauthorized person approaching a student in an inappropriate way. Let me be clear that there was no abduction, kidnapping or assault was some sources are indicating.

“The district reaction to this incident is on-going. The procedure to deal with this situation is and continues to be appropriate. Several meetings during the summer as we as since the incident have been conducted with directors, principals, coaches and sponsors regarding the supervision, safety, and security for all students.

“The district has updated its Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). This plan will be posted on-line and available to anyone to view at the district website. The district has replaced and updated some of its security camera systems on the campuses with a new system being considered at the Primary Campus. The district has requested assistance from our local and county law enforcement agencies to help with the beginning of school and having a continuing presence in the district.

“As Superintendent of Kemp ISD, I am assuring all constituents of Kemp ISD that the district has been and will continue to be vigilant and maintain a constant effort to ensure that all measures to keep our children, staff and members of our school community safe and secure.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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