Friday, October 28, 2011
After school on October 6th, two older men attacked a James Logan student on his way home from school as he entered a bathroom at Kennedy Park just yards away from campus.
The men robbed him of some of his belongings and left him bruised and scared and terrified.
A few days later, Logan art teacher Victoria Jackson and House Three Principal Jessica Lange each sent out e-mails asking staff members to inform their students about the attack and advise them on how to keep themselves safer.
Interviewed by The Courier, Jackson said, "As far as advice, I’d just tell kids to, you guys have cell phones, have them on when you’re walking by yourself and [be] talking to somebody.”
"Pee in the bushes if you have to!’"
Social Science teacher Tina Bobadilla told The Courier: “Students make themselves vulnerable by walking around with headphones on because they can’t hear what’s going on around them. You tend to just zone out and not pay attention to the people around you. And you have to always, especially when you’re alone, you have to be aware of your environment and the people in it. You have to be aware of the cars slowing down and pulling up and opening their door or if someone is running up behind you. And you compromise your senses, not just your auditory sense but you’re own self awareness and what’s going on around you when you put earphones in and just concentrate on music. When you walk around zoned out, you’re a target; you’re just making yourself a target!”
Jackson added, “When I go hiking, I see young women who will have their cell phones on and they’re walking at the same time because they feel safer that way. And the kid who got attacked, he was really tall; he was like six foot three. He's a big kid."
The attackers “…are not intimidated by size. They think they’re invulnerable,” added Bobadilla.
According to Jackson, “There were two of them and one had a ski mask on and, you know, you don’t need a ski mask in Union City. So before you walk in (to any public restrooms such as those at Kennedy Park) check to see if there’s anyone in there. And if there’s someone in there, turn around and leave. And even more important, don’t walk around with a bunch of cash and flashing it around.
"I don’t want kids to feel afraid, but be wise," Jackson said.
The student who was attacked "was pretty shook up because you don’t expect it in your home. It’s your home. When you’re going some place far away you always think, ‘Oh, there’s bad guys’, but not here. “
Principal Lange offered advice to students on how to be safer. "Especially as a female... you always wanna know who’s around you and I would avoid using really public restrooms," she said, "I would use them here at school and safe areas like restaurants like Chevy’s or something that you know to be more of a safe location. And avoid using really public, unsupervised or unmonitored restrooms as a general safety precaution."
She added that she is not a safety expert and that students should consult the School Resource Officers for more advice on how to be safe.
The student student who was attacked "obviously did nothing wrong," Lange said. "It’s just unfortunate that was someone was going to take advantage. So always know who’s around you, try to avoid unsupervised, enclosed areas. Kennedy Park is so close to Logan but it’s important for students to know that it’s not actually Logan.”