School district: two Long Beach students may have been followed by driver

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Two Long Beach Middle School students may have been followed by a female driver near Park Avenue and Neptune Boulevard while on their way home on Thursday, according to the school district.

In a statement on Facebook on Friday, Schools Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Gallagher said that the students reported that they believed they were being followed by an older woman, who may have been accompanied by another driver trailing her in a car or a van.

“The woman did not make contact or attempt to communicate with the students, who got home safely and reported the incident to their parents and to the police,” Gallagher said. “I spoke with the Long Beach Police Commissioner [Mike Tangney] a little while ago, and they have put extra cars in the area just as a precaution.”

Tangney could not immediately be reached for comment. The school district did not provide further details about the incident.

“While obviously we aren’t sure whether or not this woman was deliberately following the students, this is a good opportunity to remind our students to travel with a group when possible, to be aware of their surroundings, and to always reach out if something makes them feel uncomfortable,” Gallagher said. “We’ll do that in school, and we’d ask that parents reiterate that message at home as well.”

Some residents on Facebook also urged parents to remain alert, after one woman said that her son was followed by a middle aged woman in the Canals area, while a man driving a silver SUV followed closely behind her, according to a post on Project 11561 Thursday. The woman said she notified police.

In the post’s comment thread, a screenshot was shared from another parent who said that on Oct. 4, a “suspicious” silver Buick sedan pulled to the side of the road in Lido Beach, about five feet from where she was standing with her two children while they waited for the school bus at 11 a.m. An older woman and a white male who appeared to be in his 30s were in the car, the parent said. It was unclear if that incident was reported.

The report confirmed by the school district on Friday comes a week after a 14-year-old girl in Great Neck told police that an elderly woman and a driver attempted to lure her into their car while she was walking home on Oct. 3, according to ABC Eyewitness News.

In that incident, the teen reported that she was approached by the elderly female passenger and an unidentified driver in a newer model white four-door vehicle. The woman tried repeatedly to get the girl in the car by offering a ride home, but the teen refused and called for help.

Asked whether the incidents might be related, a spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department referred the Herald to a detective investigating the Great Neck case.  He was not available for comment on Friday.

Anyone regarding that incident was asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 244-TIPS.

The Herald will update this story.