Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Superintendent Hardy Murphy sent a letter via email Thursday to parents advising them of a suspicious person stalking a female student who was walking from her home to catch the school bus.
"When the student ran from the stranger towards the school bus," Murphy wrote, "the stranger then ran off in another direction."
The incident occurred at Washington Street and Brown Avenue at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, according to a district spokesperson.
Murphy said police have been asked to patrol the streets and bus route stop areas during the hours immediately before and after school.
Evanston police commander Jay Parrott said that police routinely patrol the routes to school, but will be increasing those patrols as a result of the incident.
He said the child has been interviewed by officers from the Juvenile Bureau. She identified the offender as a black male, about 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighing about 150-200 pounds. He sported facial hair in the form of a goatee, Parrott said.
The man was wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans, and red-and-black shoes. He did not touch the girl, police said, but called her names.
Anyone in the public who has information that could lead to the apprehension of the offender are asked to call the Juvenile Bureau at (847) 866-5050, Parrott advised.
In the letter to parents, Murphy urged that children walk to school with a friend or trusted adult whenever possible, avoid contact with strangers, and report any such incidents to a trusted adult as soon as possible.
Update 10/12/12: Maps showing recommended walking routes to District 65 elementary schools in Evanston can be found online as well as an overview map of recommended school walking routes throughout the city.