Kalihi schools on alert after man harasses students

Schools and families in Kalihi are on alert after a man approached several students at Kalihi Kai Elementary School.

At 6:40 a.m. Thursday, a man approached a student, who ignored the man. When the child got to school, the student met up with two other kids. The suspect asked all three for personal information, including names, addresses and phone numbers. They ignored him and told school officials.

The school’s principal alerted principals at 11 nearby schools and sent a letter home with students, warning parents of the incident.

“I was scared too, all the kids, that’s why I have to pick up my daughter too right now,” said parent Jun Cabanilla.

The suspicious person is described as a man in his forties and 5 feet 6 inches tall with short, black hair. He was wearing a white jacket with crosses on it and a red baseball cap.

Kalihi Uka Elementary School principal Laura Ahn was alerted via email. She says if this happened in her school, she would have done the same thing. “We work in an area that the schools are open,” she said. “Safety is a concern, so we need to make sure that the kids know what to do.”

Ahn said teachers at her school will likely remind kids what to do if a stranger approaches them. The staff at Kalihi Kai had that conversation with their students Thursday. “Don’t ever talk to strangers and if a stranger is asking you questions, don’t ever talk to them and just ignore them,” said student Nicole Cabanilla.

Elementary schools do not have security officers on campus, so they ask staff members and parents to be on the lookout and help protect the kids. They advise parents to never to leave children unattended before or after school, to tell children to go into the cafeteria if they’re early or straight home once school lets out, and remind them never to talk to strangers.

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