Springfield parents concerned after alarming robocall

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Parents are concerned after receiving a robocall from Springfield Public Schools Monday night.

The call alerted parents to attempts at baiting in the Springfield area.

Part of the automated message read, “We would like to remind families to talk to their students, especially younger ones, about the dangers of strangers.”

It warned of a worrying trend being investigated in the area, reports of a man trying to lure young students into his blue vehicle.

Western Mass News spoke to the district’s chief communications officer, Azell Cavaan. She told us that some of these incidents may have happened before the start of the school week.

“Because we as a district knew this and saw that this had happened in more than one place, we just wanted to bring this to the attention of parents so they have the information and can make better decisions about their child’s safety,” Azell Cavaan said.

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Cavaan told us that some students recently told their principals what they saw and prompted the district to act accordingly by sending the automated call.

The Robocall stated, “We would also like to urge families to continue their vigilance and proactivity regarding the safety of their students to and from school and in general.”

Western Mass News spoke to a concerned parent, Jeremy Barnett. He drove his daughter to Glenwood elementary school Tuesday morning while his son rode the bus to middle school.

He says the automated call “came home,” and he shared some important memories with his kids.

“Just be careful, be vigilant, always look around and be careful … just worry, know there are people out there trying to harm your children,” Jeremy Barnett said.

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Another parent, Briana Williams, brought their son up in Glenwood. She told us she was surprised by what she heard Monday night, which prompted a discussion with her child.

“It’s sad that it still happens that people just… they are children. You have your whole life ahead of you. They have families they love…they want to trust the world; They want to trust that things are safe out there for them because they don’t feel like “let me see that” or “let me see that”. You just do it. So we have to be there for them,” said Briana Williams.

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Springfield Police tell us they know about the robocall, but there was no criminal activity related to it. However, they ask parents and guardians to ensure that children get on the bus before it departs and that children going home from school should do so in groups.

Cavaan wants to remind children that they are loved by their families and that people are generally good, but not all strangers can be counted on.

“If you don’t know someone, you don’t know if you can trust that person. So don’t talk to them, don’t get in the car with them, don’t take candy from them. If it’s not someone you know and trust, keep it up.”

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