District speaks on safety issues after attempted abduction

EUGENE, Ore. - Things were slowly getting back to normal on Tuesday morning for students at the Yujin Gakuen Japanese Immersion Elementary School campus.

On Monday afternoon, a nine-year-old student says she was almost abducted on the Eugene school grounds by a man she doesn't know.

Parents like Ricky Turner were notified that the school went into lock-down around 1 pm Monday.

"I got the phone call about it, and then I saw the email." said Turner.

The lock-down was initiated when the student said she was trying to get a drink of water from the water fountain, when a man came up behind her and tried to grab her. She said she screamed and was able to get away.

The suspect, described as a white male, 5'10", with short brown hair and green shirt and slacks, also got away.

On Tuesday, parents picking up kindergartners from school said they're happy with the way the school is handling the situation.

"I feel they're safe," said parent James Thomas. "I mean yes, we have to figure out a way to put something back there so we can actually see what's going on."

Turner said he talked to his son about staying safe at school and outside of school and what to do when strangers approach.

"We go over the rules of who you should go tell and what you should say and ignoring them, stuff like that," said Turner.

Still this isn't the first time something like this has happened at this school. Officials said about a month ago, a similar incident occurred in a breezeway.

On Tuesday, Eugene 4J School District spokesperson Kerry Delf said that additional fencing and security gates were going up.

"They have a security guard who will be there until the fencing is done during all of the school hours as well as before and after school," she said. "When students are outside the building, they'll either be with staff or observed by staff or with other students."

She said many schools in the district have hallways that are open to the outdoors, something that they recognize is an issue.

"We're absolutely continuing to look at safety measures that can be taken and doing risk assessments at all of our other schools."

She said many of Eugene's schools, built between the 1940s and the 1960s, weren't designed with current safety measures in mind.

"Students at many of our schools need to go outside the school building to get to another classroom or to get to a bathroom. That's something we're aware of as an issue," she said. "Nowadays, when we build a school, it is designed with safety and security in mind. The schools are contained, there is a single entry and exit point."

Delf said while incidents like this one are rare, she understands parents concerns but assures that students are safe.

"We strive to always have our school buildings and our school environments be safe for students. yet there's always other things we could be looking at to improve that, both in schools and with parents and students and that's why we continually reassess risk issues," she said.