Jumeirah schoolgirls harassed while walking home

Police say they are investigating the matter, but it is still too early to comment.

DUBAI // Parents of students at several Jumeirah schools have been warned about a group of possible troublemakers circling the area in a car and harassing schoolgirls as they walk home.

Circulars issuing the warning was issued to parents and police have been informed of the fears.

Bur Dubai police station, responsible for surveillance in the area, said it had opened an investigation after obtaining a copy of one of the circulars from The National.

Although the circular stated that a complaint had been filed with the police, Col Ali Ghanem, the director of the station, said: "We have not received a complaint from the school yet, but we are investigating the claims referred to in the letter. It is still to early too determine the accuracy of the claims."

Jumeirah College (JC) in Dubai sent out a notice about suspicious individuals who had come to their attention while loitering around the school area.

"We have had reports of some incidents and filed a written complaint with the police on Wednesday," said Fiona Cottam, the principal of the school.

Concerns raised by JC have prompted other schools, including the Jumeirah Primary School (JPS), to also send out circulars.

The letter sent by JPS refers to incidents at two schools in the same locality and asks parents to take necessary measure to ensure the safety of students.

"If parents have any information regarding this, or any other similar events, please contact the police and/or the school giving as much detail as possible," said the letter from Stephen Chynoweth, the principal of JPS.

Ms Cottam said no student had been in danger and the letter sent out was to advise them about protecting themselves from strangers.

According to the letter sent to parents, the car and its occupants had made some students, especially the girls, feel very uncomfortable.

"Thankfully, they have used their common sense … and they have all acted in a way that has ensured their overriding safety," said the letter.

Ms Cottam said she did not want to cause any panic among parents about the matter. "We only want to reinforce advice, like 'do not talk to strangers' and 'be safe while coming to and leaving school'," she said.

The letter also urged students to be alert while walking home, and to wait inside the school grounds for their lift.

"If a student is approached by an unknown person in circumstances beyond the normal … I would recommend that you seek refuge by walking into the nearby bookshop," the circular read.

wissa@thenational.ae

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS