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Long IslandNassau

Cop: Attack on student 'highest priority'

The view from Delamere Street, looking south on

The view from Delamere Street, looking south on Morris Avenue, where a middle school student on the way to her bus stop said she escaped a man's grasp by punching him in the face. (Jan. 24, 2012) Credit: J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Every effort is being made to catch the man who grabbed a middle school student's waist from behind in Greenlawn only to be scared off when she punched him in the face, Suffolk County Police Chief of Department James Burke said Thursday.

The Elwood Middle School student, 13, was on the way to her bus stop Tuesday morning when she was attacked, police said.

"This incident is receiving the highest priority," Burke said in a statement. "Other departmental resources, in addition to the Second Precinct, are being utilized in an effort to identify and apprehend this individual."

The attack occurred as the girl was walking north on Morris Avenue near a dirt path that leads to her bus stop on Delamere Street about 6:50 a.m., police said.

"The student punched the man, causing him to let her go, and she ran to her bus stop," police said Tuesday, adding that the man wore a black hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and a skull cap.

Two students, who told police they saw the suspect before he grabbed the girl, provided a description to police.

Police said there had been no recent reported incidents of similar attempts to grab children.

News 12 Long Island Thursday aired surveillance video from a nearby home that purportedly showed a girl running from the area of the alleged attack.

Anyone with information can call the Second Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8268, or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential, police said.

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