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School Official: Parents Expect Instant Alerts

January 5, 2011, 5:38 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

School Official: Parents Expect Instant Alerts
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The Sioux Falls School District is using e-mails and phone messages to tell parents about a suspicious situation earlier this week.

After school Monday, an Edison Middle School student reported that a car followed them home from school. The student's parent also saw the car driving past the house and reported it. That's why police asked the school district to send out calls and e-mails on their AlertNow system.

Those calls and e-mails are an instantaneous connection between the Sioux Falls School District and parents.

"Gone are the days of just sending home a letter that may or may not reach the parent," DeeAnn Konrad with the Sioux Falls School District said.

The incident near Edison Middle School this week shows the power of the alerts. Sioux Falls Police asked the district to send out messages about the suspicious vehicle to find clues in the case, and also to serve as a warning for parents.

"The police are able to take that information and then say okay, did anybody else notice something like this in the neighborhood, or at another school and I think in this day and age you can't be too careful," Konrad said.

And in an age of instant information the system the Sioux Falls School District uses has become a way for parents to stay current with anything that happens at or near their student's school. 

"We know that our parents have come to expect that when there's a situation they should be notified about that. They're going to get a phone call, or an e-mail, or something to alert them of that," Konrad said.

A tool to alert parents almost instantly.

Sioux Falls Police say the person they are looking for is a 50 to 60 year-old white man with white hair and a white beard. They say he could be driving a dark green four-door Pontiac.  Anyone with information about should call police at 367-7000.

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