Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Parkside Elementary sends precautionary letter to parents after recess report

Parkside Elementary Principal Thomas Eichenberg sent a note to parents last night after three girls reported seeing a man in the woods not far from them during recess yesterday morning. (See the letter below.)

The Sheriff’s Office responded and searched the woods and trails in that area, which are part of Patriot Park. The park has trails that are used for walking and biking. The Spotsylvania YMCA also sits alongside Parkside.

Schools spokeswoman Rene Daniels said the girls did the right thing by notifying their teacher in light of warnings to parents about two recent attempted abductions of students.

The division has posted safety tips and is encouraging people to be aware of anything suspicious.

A man attempted to abduct a 15-year-old girl on her way to school on Oct. 13 in the Ashleigh Park South community.  Another man attempted to abduct a 9-year-old girl last Friday after she got off her school bus about 3:45 p.m. in the Salem Fields community.

The cases are believed to be unrelated. The Sheriff’s Office has identified a suspect in the first case and has obtained a warrant but has not located him. Detectives are still investigating the second case.



Parkside Elementary School

5620 Smith Station Road

Fredericksburg, Virginia 22407



October 24, 2011

Dear Parkside Parent,

This letter is being sent to alert you to a situation that occurred today during recess.  Three girls reported that they saw a man looking at them from the woods behind the school building where there is a trail that runs around Patriot Park.  At no time were the students approached or talked to by this individual.  The students did the correct thing by reporting this situation to one of the teachers who was monitoring the playground.

Upon receiving this report, staff immediately responded by investigating, contacting the Sheriff’s Department, and searching the area.  The entire Parkside Elementary School staff was notified about the incident.  All students were also reminded to stay away from the tree line and areas where they are not to play.  We will continue to closely monitor students while they are outside.

The Spotsylvania County Schools website also has safety measures posted on the home page; we encourage you to review them with your child.

Please feel free to contact me should you have questions regarding the situation that occurred today.




Thomas L. Eichenberg