Four Roxborough elementary school students were threatened by an unidentified male, according to school district and police reports.
In a letter released by the School District of Philadelphia, Shawmont Principal Michael Graff described the incident to parents Thursday.
The man "grabbed and threatened a child, then released him," Graff wrote.
The incident occurred near 4 p.m., Russell said. This was far removed from school hours, due to an early dismissal, school district spokesperson Fernando Gallard said.
According to Russell, the students involved told the Shawmont staff about the incident, which led to law enforcement involvement.
Students described the male as, "white, 'older,' with white hair and a beard, with a droopy eye (cheek) and driving a black van, SUV," according to the letter.
No injuries were reported, and police did not apprehend anyone fitting that description.
Writing to parents, Graff said the incident should remind parents to be vigilant and aware.
"We are taking steps here at school to alert our staff and review our safety procedures. You should take this opportunity to review safety issues with your children, as well."
In a phone call Friday, Graff deferred specific comment to the school district, but did explain his rationale for sending home the letter.
"It is a police matter, but it's worth mentioning that something like this happened in our community. It's one thing to promote safety but it's another to evoke unnecessary fear," he said.
The district said no other schools sent out advisories.
"Mr. Graff felt that he should send the letter out so he could share the information we knew, at that time," Gallard said.
Shawmont reminded parents to contact 911 if they witness suspicious people and also to alert the school at 215-487-4455.