Parents and children can prepare for dangerous situations by:
¢ Teaching children, when they're alone, to only talk to adults whom they know and trust.
¢ Making sure children know how to dial 911.
¢ Planning a walking route home from school that includes a safe house with a neighbor or friend along the way.
¢ Teaching children to trust their instincts to seek help if they feel uncomfortable or to find other children nearby if possible.
¢ Teaching children how to make observations and be a good witness for police if necessary.
¢ Telling them to draw attention - by yelling "stranger danger" or something else - to alert others if possible.
Sources: Lawrence Police Department, Lawrence public schools
Using safety measures she learned at a young age, a Lawrence junior high school student on Thursday avoided a man who allegedly was trying to lure her into a vehicle after school.
"For a young person like that to be in a situation, keep their wits about them, and be able to give details about describing the vehicle, those were really critical pieces about being able to resolve the situation," said Myron Melton, principal at West Junior High, 2700 Harvard Road.
Thursday afternoon, police arrested Stephen R. Stout, 47, who was charged in court with two felonies: indecent solicitation of a child, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers with five or more moving violations.
During a first appearance Friday, prosecutors said more charges could be filed.
Police said a man asked the 13-year-old girl to get into his vehicle after school Thursday in the 2800 block of Yale Road near the school. Melton said the student instead joined another group of students, who helped alert police.
The girl gave a description of the man and vehicle to officers, and minutes later detectives found the vehicle. According to a police statement, Stout failed to stop his vehicle initially, but he pulled over in the 1100 block of Hilltop Drive.
Meanwhile, officers said three other girls also reported seeing a man exposing himself while sitting in a vehicle in West's north parking lot, and investigators said descriptions of the man and vehicle matched Stout.
Police also said they found Stout in possession of a firearm, but no charges were filed in connection to that Friday.
According to prosecutors and court records, Stout has had legal troubles before. He pleaded guilty in March 2006 in Clay County, Mo., to misdemeanor second-degree sexual misconduct, and he was wanted there for a probation violation.
Stout claimed residence in Parks, Ark., to Lawrence police. According to Missouri court records, he had an Olathe address.
"I have family in-laws here, but I have not been living here recently," Stout told Douglas County District Court Judge Stephen Six.
Stout said he planned to hire an attorney and he owned a business.
Six set Stout's bond at $250,000. The judge also ordered him not to have contact with anyone younger than 18 and to submit to electronic monitoring, if he's released.
Because Thursday was the final day of classes for junior high students this semester, Melton said he notified principals at nearby Sunset Hill and Hillcrest elementary schools about Thursday's events. He said West staff members likely would work with students on safety measures when they returned Jan. 3.
Six has set Stout's next court appearance for Wednesday in Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone's courtroom.