Belding students, parents warned to be cautious of online “friends”

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:08 am on Friday, May 18, 2012

BELDING – Belding Area Schools sent a letter home with students Thursday to warn of a local man who may be trying to coerce young females to meet with him.

According to a letter from High School Principal Brett Zuver, a Belding-area man may be targeting middle- and high-school females through Facebook and other social media websites.

“We are glad to be able to provide that warning before any potential issues took place,” said Superintendent Leslie Mount.

Belding Police Chief Dale Nelson said a man was waiting to make contact with a student after school this week. When school officials made contact with the man, he was told to leave the property immediately.

Although the event took place in Belding, Nelson said the man has a Grand Rapids address, according to records.

Nelson said the man was attempting to “friend” students online.

“We are working diligently to make sure contact is not made (with students),” Nelson said.

The letter asked parents to take a moment and review who their children are spending time with online and who they are friends with on social media websites.

Nelson said to remember a person may not be who they say they are online.

Mount said she hopes students and parents will use this opportunity to ensure students are only interacting with people they know online and for parents to monitor the online activity of students.

“We all know that Belding is a tremendous place to live and attend school,” Zuver stated in the letter. “This is a reminder that we are not immune to some of the issues that can plague larger cities or communities.”

The school’s action included working with the Belding Police Department as soon as the school knew of the issue, along with sending a letter home to parents, according to Mount.



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