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New push to keep I.E. school children safe

August 11, 2010 12:48:54 AM PDT
New efforts are under way on the first day of school to keep school children safe in Moreno Valley following the kidnapping and murder of a teenager.It's expected to be a tough first day at Valley View High School for students who knew Norma Lopez.

Lopez disappeared on July 15 while she was walking home from summer school at Valley View High. She was taking a shortcut through a field when investigators believe she was abducted. Her slain body was later found about two-and-a-half miles away. Police are still searching for a suspect.

Counselors are on hand to help kids cope with Norma's death, and across the district officials are trying to remind students to be safe.

There's growing concern in the community that the suspect will attack again.

Norma is believed to have been taken at a vacant lot, and the message to avoid isolated locations seems to be getting out. Teens say they're also traveling in groups now.

"When I'm walking now, I definitely look at every car and every person in it. It just creeps me out that people do this," said student Jamie Hartman.

There are also more watchful eyes in the community. Volunteers are fanning out across Moreno Valley to help watch kids' backs. Kahlid Shawah, organizer of Safe Passage, said they just want to make sure parents and students feel safe knowing that they are keeping an eye out. He added that they needed the community to be a part of their efforts.

"The instances of violence don't always happen on campus ... they happen in the community," Shawah said. "Safe Passage was created to make sure we have folks monitoring certain parts of the communities where our kids go to and from school."


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