I talked to the police officer assigned to our case early this morning and unfortunately there were no under cover cops available. We decided to take this matter into our own hands and her and I worked what we thought would be the best sting ever. She gave me her personal cell # and I gave her my personal cell # and we decided that I'd get on the bus with my students, acting like I didn't know them. (Try telling a person with autism to pretend like they don't know their teacher... ha!!) So I sat on one side of the bus and my students sat on the other side and I kept a close eye on them, mostly D. I was supposed to text the police officer a description of the guy and a blow by blow of what was going down on the bus. Meanwhile, she was following the bus and would get this man when we got off. I got on the bus and waited, and waited, and turned my head to every man that came close to D's description.... but it was a no-go. The man never got on the bus and I'm thinking it was because D's mom canceled the debit card so the man probably figured out that we were on to him. I'm so bummed that we didn't catch him and the police officer was also thoroughly disappointed. She (the police officer) was fabulous and I'm so glad she was assigned to this case because she really honestly wanted to catch the guy and saw the importance of what this means for our community, especially our disabled community. The officer and I will keep in touch and we'll try another sting operation next week, but I doubt the guy will come around again.
I was INTO it though... I think I've missed my calling as an under-cover cop.
Back at the classroom our afternoon meeting was an hour long role play about bus safety and stranger awareness. I've learned that it can never be over tought and that our students need continious reminders that there are evil people out there that will take advantage of them. During the role playing D would say things like "leave me alone, please" instead of "LEAVE ME ALONE" like we tought him. It's still a long road and I'm grateful that this experience will teach us a lesson.
Thanks for all the concerns and comments and let's hope this doesn't happen again, EVER!