A school in Dubai has alerted parents over an abduction attempt of one of its pupils, warning parents to be more vigilant.
A circular issued by the Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) on Monday, obtained by Gulf News, warns parents to be mindful, after the parent of a child informed the school about the abduction incident.
The circular was also sent to heads of several other schools in the city, prompting them to issue warnings to parents.
Despite repeated attempts, Dubai Police is yet to confirm or deny the alleged incident. A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Gulf News the police has no indications that the kidnap attempt was genuine and residents should not panic. "The police are looking into the case," he stressed.
Education authority, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), refused to comment on the issue.
"One of our parents has brought a serious incident to our attention regarding the recent attempted abduction of a child," Ruth Burke, head teacher of JESS, said in the circular titled "Serious Incident at Union Co-op."
The incident took place at Union Co-Operative Society supermarket on Al Wasl Road on Sunday afternoon, Burke said. "It has been reported to the police who are investigating the matter."
"While Dubai is generally recognised as a relatively safe environment it is clear that high levels of vigilance are required from us all," she added.
Gems Winchester School principal and CEO Ranju Annad quoted the JESS circular and asked parents to be alert. Several other Gems schools also sent out circulars, a spokesperson said.
The school also reassured parents that they will continue to remain rigorous in their approach to all aspects of site safety and security at school.
Jebel Ali Primary School and several schools and nurseries, especially in Jumeirah (since similar incidents have been reported in the locality earlier), alerted parents.
"I am very disturbed by this news. There was an incident last year where a child from our nursery was approached by a stranger and asked to get in the car. The car was seen circling around the area as the staff and the students who were in front of a supermarket close to the nursery at the time," staff at a nursery in Jumeirah said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A mother whose two children go to the Dubai British School in the Springs said she has received circulars from the school with a similar message previously. "It is always better to be safe than sorry," she said.
"I am really scared on hearing this news," one parent commented online. "All schools must take necessary minimum security measures to keep track of the movement of each student," the mother said.