Suspect held after touching girl and trying to kiss another at Alameda High
ALAMEDA, Calif. - A suspect has been arrested for touching the face of a girl at Alameda High School and then trying to kiss another girl, police said Wednesday.
The 27-year-old man, whose name was not released, was the second of two intruders spotted on campus in separate incidents hours apart on Tuesday, authorities said. Another man wandered the campus earlier in the day before being removed from the school.
"I think that is really disgusting and very disturbing," said student AnaCecilia Wallace, referring to the acts with the girls.
Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi said, "We have an adult showing up and interrupting their ability to learn, harassing them and bothering them, that's concerning."
Joshi said despite the arrest, police are boosting patrols to give the campus community some peace of mind.
Alameda schools Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi said campus security is a top priority.
"It’s a beautiful campus, but it definitely presents some supervision challenges, that’s going to be part of what we have to talk about," Scuderi said. "We don’t want to turn it into a prison, but there may have to be physical adjustments."
On Tuesday morning, a former student went onto campus and began acting strangely before he was removed. At one point, the man made a startling comment about being perceived as a possible school shooter. "
"I think what he conveyed to our staff was that he was an individual who people thought might do something like that and that was part of his larger anxiety," Scuderi said. "Clearly this is someone that is dealing with some pretty persistent, profound mental health issues."
Police said that man committed no crimes but has been referred to social services for help.
In the second incident, a stranger went into a classroom and touched a girl’s face. The teacher stepped in and he left, but he then saw two girls in the hallway and asked one of them if he could kiss her.
The teacher then followed him on foot - and the two ended up all the way at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. He disappeared but was arrested Wednesday.
"Especially someone underage, just going and touching them in the face, maybe just talking to them that’s one thing but touching them on the face, that’s crossing the line," said student Haroon Wiar. "The teacher that did chase him, props to him."
That teacher was Spanish instructor Eric Lowy, who told KTVU by phone he was just doing his job.
"Us teachers are just doing the best that we can to teach our students, and we're just trying to maintain the safest environment possible," Lowy said.
Scuderi said, "There was some parental instincts that kicked in for him to do that. It’s obviously not standard protocol, we’re just as concerned about staff safety as we are student safety."
Monica Wallace, a parent said, "I know that the school cares about the children, but maybe there needs to be better safeguards for the kids during the day."