|Two students at Greenwood College on Mt. Pleasant Rd. were recently harassed by a man on the subway. Toronto Police are advising students not to wear their school uniforms on the TTC. (DAVE THOMAS/QMI Agency
TORONTO -- Police are on the lookout for a suspected pervert with a penchant for harassing skirt-wearing prep school girls on the subway.
And they have offered this advice to students at Greenwood College private school: "Students, especially females, should consider not wearing their school uniform when riding the TTC (public transit system)."
This bit of guidance was given to Allan Hardy, the school's principal, by an investigating officer from 53 Division on Thursday after two of Greenwood's female students -- both decked out in the school's uniform of skirt, shirt and blazer -- were allegedly followed around and ogled by a man while on the subway earlier that morning.
The girls, who were on their way to school at the time, were travelling northbound, Hardy confirmed, adding that the suspect had been looking up the girls' skirts.
Hardy relayed the officer's advice in an e-mail to parents and teachers informing them of the incident. The Toronto Sun obtained the e-mail from a confidential source.
"This person was looking up the girls' skirts," said Hardy, who would not divulge the ages of the two students. "So the advice is given ... if they had, for example, jeans or sweatpants on, it wouldn't be an issue."
Hardy, who insisted the officer's advice was directed to all students and not meant to be sexist, said another reason for the tip is that uniformed students -- both girls and boys -- are at times targeted by thieves assuming they come from affluent families and carry expensive cellphones, cash or credit cards.
In January, Officer Michael Sanguinetti found himself the centre of a firestorm of controversy after telling students at a York University safety forum that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
Sanguinetti's remark prompted a "not victims by choice" movement galvanized by the SlutWalk demonstrations in Canada, the U.S. and various other countries.
Staff Sgt. Glenn Gray of 53 Division said the advice of students not wearing uniforms to school was meant to stop a potential sex offender -- or any other kind of threat -- from knowing where the students attend school.
"The last thing we want is for a suspect to know what school they go to," said Gray, adding that video surveillance will be looked at to identify the suspect.
Gray said police are hunting for a skinny white man about five foot six with messy light-brown hair. He was wearing glasses with thick, black frames, light-coloured blue jeans, a dark denim jacket, a blue T-shirt and construction boots.