WESTMINSTER, Colo. - Jessica's Angels, a volunteer group of high school students and parents, began patrolling Jefferson County streets Monday morning.
"We will just have some extra eyes out there like a neighborhood watch," said parent Cindy Fuqua. Fuqua and about a half dozen students from Arvada West and Pomona High schools were patrolling streets around Weber Elementary in Arvada.
Pamona High School junior Alex Groen came up with the idea after Jessica Ridgeway was abducted while walking to school.
Originally, the group planned to walk elementary school students to and from school, but the group put the plans on hold after the Jefferson County School District raised concerns about student safety. The sad irony is the suspect in the Ridgeway case is a teen himself.
"This is now just a buddy system, where teens and parents will team up to keep an eye on things around the schools," said Fuqua, who was handing out purple T-shirts to volunteers with the words 'Jessica's Angels' printed on the front. "The teens are not allowed to attempt to apprehend anybody. They are not going to have any interaction with the kids either. They are just on watch."
Groen said after talking with the school district last week, he's decided to move forward without the district partnership.
"I am slightly disappointed with it," Groen said. "All we really asked from the school district is a way of communicating through the schools to the students That's all I really wanted, but we don't need the school district to walk the streets."
"We just want to keep an eye out for anything weird happening," said one Pomona High senior. "All we really need to do is watch."
Monday morning, Groen and the volunteers gathered near Weber Elementary and Warder Elementary. They also gathered Monday afternoon.
He said they won't have any direct contact with students, but instead will be a "neighborhood watch," encouraging parents to be the eyes and ears of the community.
The Jefferson County School District declined an on-camera interview with 7NEWS but issued this statement:
"Our focus remains the safety and security of all of our students, elementary through high school," school officials said. "JeffCo Superintendent Dr. Cindy Stevenson talked with the organizer of Jessica’s Angels Wednesday, to explore avenues that would benefit the community and Jeffco students. The founder was leaving town on Thursday. He and the superintendent agreed to continue the conversation next week."