SOUTH PASADENA — Police are seeking a man who exposed and touched himself in front of students as they played at recess at Arroyo Vista Elementary School.
The incident was reported about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the school, 335 El Centro Street, South Pasadena police Sgt. Tony Abdallah said.
A group of four children, ages 7 and 8, were playing in the school yard when they saw a man standing outside the fence and masturbating, the sergeant said.
They the children ran to their classroom and told their teacher what they had witnessed, he said. Police searched the area, but the man was not found.
Officials described him as man with tan skin, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a black goatee, wearing a red shirt and black sweat pants. He rode a black bicycle with chrome handlebars and a black back tied to the handlebars, and was described as appearing to be homeless.
School officials immediately contacted the parents of the students who witnessed the incident by telephone, and sent e-mails to parents throughout the South Pasadena Unified School District, Superintendent Joel Shapiro said.
“It’s out procedure that if there is an incident that we feel parents need to alerted about to take extra precautions, we alert them,” he said.
Safety measures at the campus have also been beefed up since Tuesday’s incident.
“The school asked for some additional police presence around the school perimeter, which has occurred,” Shapiro said.
He added that the school has advised playground supervisors to stay vigilant of the school’s perimeter.
In addition to extra security measures put in place at the school, Shapiro asked parents to take extra precautions, especially with children who walk themselves to or from school.
Parents should remind their students what to do if they encounter a someone suspicious: immediately leave and tell a trusted adult.