THE authorities have been trying to reassure parents and children after a man assaulted and harassed pupils outside a primary school.

The man, said to be in his 40s, shouted at, grabbed and punched two boys aged ten and 11 and then approached a group of girls in Kelloe, County Durham, yesterday afternoon (Thursday, February 6).

The girls, who were in a park, ran back into Kelloe Community Primary School and told teachers, who called the police.

Headteacher Carol Musztacs has tonight sent a letter home to all parents, informing them of the incident and trying to reassure them it was being taken seriously.

She told The Northern Echo: “We take the safety of children very seriously.

“We will be checking the park before children leave school and we’ve advised them to go straight home.

“The pupils were very sensible to report what was happening.

“The children were playing in a community park which is on school land.”

The incident happened at about 3.30pm.

The attacker, believed to live locally, is said to have sworn at and punched ten-year-old Wesley Walter to the head and his friend grabbed Kian Fox, 11, by his collar, pushed him up against a fence and punched him.

Wesley suffered headaches and struggled to sleep, while Kian was left with a red mark on his forehead and was scared to leave home this morning.

Wesley said: “We had been in the skate park and we were walking home.

“There was a man who we didn’t know. The next thing we knew he was on us. I felt threatened.”

Kian’s grandmother, Theresa Fox, of Tate Avenue, is angry the police made an appointment to visit them tonight, rather than attending immediately yesterday.

“I think it’s absolutely appalling and I’m going to make an official complaint,” she said.

“Kian was up all night frightened.

“What if he’d been at the school again?

“Kian got a lift but what about the other children who were walking? It’s shameful.”

A Durham Police spokeswoman said police were treating the incident seriously and had made arrangements to speak to the boys and their families this evening.