HOUSTON – Police are looking for a man who tried to lure two eighth-grade girls walking to school in southeast Houston Tuesday. It happened across the street from Albert Thomas Junior High School, according to HISD officials.
Khalilah Campbell-Rhone is principal to a few hundred students at the middle school. However, some said her work at campus gates is a big deal too.
“It makes a lot of our parents feel so much more safe for their children,” Dee Collier, a parent said.
Before school starts, Campbell-Rhone and her staff go out to watch out for kids. It paid off Tuesday morning.
“The good thing is we were all on duty ready for whatever happened,” Campbell-Rhone said.
Two girls walking to school said a tall stranger in a black trench coat approached them. He ordered both girls to follow him. They did not.
“(The girls) came to the gate and asked someone to open the gate,” Campbell-Rhone said.
The principal sent officers after the stranger.
“He was not in a car,” Campbell-Rhone said. “He jumped in a car after the police took chase after him. Then, he got out the car and continued to run throughout the neighborhood.”
Immediately, Houston ISD police locked gates and roamed the area searching. Without an arrest, administrators ordered a school lockdown.
“Oh, so I can’t get my baby in,” asked a parent who would only give her first name, Catherine.
She brought her son late after his doctor’s appointment. Like others who learned of the lockdown and the events causing concern, Catherine’s fear was her son’s safety.
“Yes that frightens me,” she said. “That’s why I bring my baby to school.”
“To hear something like that, it makes me scared and I can’t believe it,” said Gloria Marable, whose two granddaughters are 7th-graders.
It is also why administrators want students to walk to and from school in groups, not talking on cell phones and reporting anything suspicious.
So far, HISD police have not made any arrest in this case.