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Protecting our children on the way to and from school

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The impact of the abduction of a 12 year old girl on her way to school is still rippling through St. Louis.

Concerned parents and community leaders have been patrolling neighborhoods themselves in recent days. Parents took their calls to keep kids safe all the way to the top Friday morning. They met with St. Louis Public Schools security team and St. Louis police.

Parents said they're not going to just let this slide.

If the girl on her had any inkling of the danger lurking the morning of January 11th, there wasn’t much she could do about it. There was no one watching out, nowhere to run.

“I mean, just a normal day going to school,” said Azim Aziz, a concerned resident who’s running for 1st Ward Alderman.

Aziz was at the meeting with police and district security personnel.

“I think one of the police officers told me this morning she was 70 seconds late from getting to her walking buddy to get to school,” Aziz said.

Tyrone Butler, 20, is charged with kidnapping, sodomy, and assault. He allegedly attacked the girl that morning.

She was found an abandoned two-family home during a door-to-door search two days later. She was upstairs with her backpack; alive but traumatized.

A group of parents and concerned residents have started daily car patrols to serve as lookouts.

“A patrol basically is just two people in a car just driving around, observing to see kids going to and from school,” Aziz said.

They want to weave their efforts into the existing security efforts of the school district and the police department. They hope to expand them and add technology into the mix—like phone apps for students and parents—so that if a student doesn’t see danger lurking, someone who cares about them will.

“Whatever we’ve got to do to protect our babies. If we can’t protect our babies, we’re worthless. What good are we if we can’t protect our kids to get to and from school?” Aziz said.

A school district spokesman confirmed the meeting. The groups will meet again next week to hopefully hatch a formal action plan.

Meanwhile, the 12-year-old victim is reportedly recovering but it's going to be a long road.