KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 10, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
A 5th grade girl at Fielder Elementary ran and sought help from a school crossing guard this week after she noticed a vehicle following her. Katy ISD police, along with local law enforcement, ruled out criminal activity but they stress the importance of staying aware.
Photo credit: Katy ISD
“I 100 percent know how scared she is,” says Tracy Valero after her 5th grade daughter ran from a vehicle that seemed to be following her Wednesday after school. “I believe her.”
Student Noticed Vehicle Following Her
Valero’s daughter was walking home alone from Fielder Elementary on Wednesday. She was walking along Greenway Village Drive, facing the school at around 3:47 p.m. when she noticed that a vehicle appeared to be following her.
“It was strange,” says Valero. “She moved, he moved, and then he opened the vehicle door and she ran.”
Valero’s daughter ran to the nearest school crossing guard for help. At that point the assistant principal saw something going on and got involved. Her parents have told her that she did the right thing and are relieved that they have had previous conversations about this exact scenario.
“The school notified the police and they were amazing,” says Valero.
Fielder Elementary Principal Marc Kampwerth sent out an email alerting the Fielder families about the alarming situation.
He included a description of the driver, a male in his 40’s to 50’s, and asked families to notify Katy ISD police with any information.
“We would like to reassure parents that the safety of our Katy ISD students is a top priority,” said Kampwerth in the email. “Students, staff and community play an important role in keeping our school safe by reporting potential threats or safety issues.”
An investigation was conducted by Katy ISD Police Department, alongside deputies from Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Bend County Constable, Precinct 3.
No Criminal Activity Found
After investigating the incident, authorities announced that no criminal activity was found in this case. According to authorities, the individual in question was a Municipal Utility District (MUD) employee who was assigned to the area to assess meters. He was reviewed and verified.
“I am upset about how this has been handled,” says Valero, who spoke to authorities with her daughter after the incident. “We learned the result of the investigation by the same email that the rest of the Fielder Elementary families received Thursday evening. No one confirmed or reached out to us.”
Parents Should Discuss Safety with Children
While the District states that there was no criminal activity in this case, they ask parents to discuss with their children the following safety precautions.
Being aware of their surroundings
Not speaking to strangers
Staying free from distractions such as cell phones or earbuds
Utilizing a buddy system with another student when possible
“Kids should never approach a vehicle at all if it isn’t a family member or close friend they recognize,” says Fort Bend County Constable Chad Norvell. “Report anything suspicious immediately to the closest crossing guard, teacher or parent.”
Use Katy ISD's Free Reporting App
Katy ISD encourages Katy staff, students, parents, and community members to utilize the District’s mobile app, SpeakUp, to anonymously report tips.
Valero says that her children will no longer walk to school without following the buddy system.
“I pray that this was a weird coincidence, but I’m struggling with that,” says Valero.
Kampwerth thanked the Fielder Elementary families for their patience and support as the incident was investigated by law enforcement.