Toronto police say they are searching for a man who allegedly cut parts of a girl's hijab while she was walking to school.
Const. Jenniferjit Sidhu says school staff told police the 11-year-old girl was walking to Pauline Johnson Junior Public School in Toronto's east end at about 8:30 a.m. when she noticed a man behind her with a pair of scissors cutting at the back of her hijab.
Sidhu says the girl turned around and screamed, which startled the man before he ran off.
She says the girl then crossed the street and, about 10 minutes later, she noticed the man cutting at her hijab again.
Sidhu says when the girl turned to confront him, he ran away.
Toronto District School Board spokesman Ryan Bird says staff contacted police and the girl's parents shortly after she arrived at school. Police say the girl was not physically injured.
Bird said the school board is offering support to the affected student and her family.
"We are shocked to learn of this assault and we will be working closely with police to offer any assistance that we can," he said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the incident "a cowardly act of hatred."
"This does not represent who we are," Wynne wrote in a tweet. "We must stand firm in our support of this young girl who was assaulted simply for wearing a hijab."
Police said the incident isn't currently being treated as a hate crime, but investigators are not ruling out a possibility.