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Portland principal sends warning to parents after strange man approaches kids

Forest Park Elementary School (KATU News photo)

The principal of Forest Park Elementary School in Portland sent a letter to parents Friday warning them of a strange man approaching young children on campus.

Principal Lisa Newlyn said the man typically walks onto campus shortly after school is dismissed. She said the man returned to campus Thursday afternoon, near a covered play area.

Staff called police after he tried to interact with young girls. He eventually ran away after Kidspace staff to chase after him.

In the letter, Newlyn wrote a strange man was in the play area last week, "helping" the kids and even touching their bottoms.

She went from classroom to classroom this week, reminding students to report suspicious behavior to trustworthy adults.

"[I] wanted to emphasize the message that adults need to be in charge of kids and have an awareness of what's going on," Newlyn told KATU. "Kids can contact an adult right away, if they feel uncomfortable."

Newlyn says the school reported these incidents to Portland Police and the school's resource officer is aware.

The school is asking for parents to talk to them early and often about stranger danger. They also recommend parents to make drop-off and pick-up arrangements, and that students should not be allowed to play unsupervised after school dismissal.

"I think this is a good reminder that we are in this together," parent Michael Goldstein said. "We all need to look out for each other and find the best outcome for kids."

The suspicious man is described as Asian or Hispanic, approximately 5'7 - 5'10 with short black hair and was seen wearing a black sweatshirt, black pants and headphones.

The school is asking for anyone with information to call the Portland Police non-emergency number: (503) 823-3333 or 911, if needed.

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