The mother of a young girl approached by a stranger at a Maitland school is calling for all local schools to increase playground supervision and reinforce the stranger danger message.
At about 8.55am on Thursday the girl, aged five, was nearing the gates of Bolwarra Public School when a man offered her a chocolate.
She declined and ran away, reporting the incident to a teacher.
But now the mother of the girl has decided to issue her own warning and is pleading for parents to be vigilant.
“What’s scary is that this happened at the busiest time of the day,” the mother said. “And I’m just really glad that I’ve taught my daughter about stranger danger because normally she would take a chocolate off anybody.”
The woman said parents at the school have been advised about the incident and the stranger danger message has been reinforced.
Revisions have also been made to playground supervision.
“I think schools everywhere should be doing this and the same things should be put in place everywhere,” the woman said. “But I’m still really worried and there is no way I’ll be dropping my daughter off anymore, I’ll be walking her into the school.
“The police have no idea who he is and he is still out there and my daughter is really clingy now; normally she is the sort of kid who runs around, but this has changed her behaviour.”
The woman dropped her daughter off at Bolwarra Public School last Thursday morning, said goodbye and drove off.
“I went to do a u-turn then my daughter came running out onto the road, which she normally wouldn’t do,” the woman said. “Then she started screaming and crying and I asked her what was wrong but she didn’t say anything so I thought she was just acting clingy.
“But as soon as I got home the school rang to say a man had offered my daughter a chocolate out the front. I went back to the school and my daughter was crying and I asked what had happened and she said ‘sorry I didn’t tell you mummy but I didn’t want you to be too worried that you wouldn’t let me go to school anymore’.”
The little girl said the man was waving and smiling at her and was wearing a brown jacket and shorts.
She said he had short, dark hair, sores on his forehead and arms and was also wearing glasses.
“I want parents to be extra careful and make sure they really watch their kids because you just don’t know,” the mother said.
Police from Central Hunter Local Area Command are still investigating the incident.
Anyone with any information regarding the incident or who may know the identity of the man is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.