Toronto police are searching for a male suspect who allegedly grabbed a young girl's hair and exposed himself to her when she was on her way to school.

Police say the eight-year-old child was walking to school in the Bramble Drive and Barrydale Crescent area when the male suspect approached her at approximately 8:15 a.m. on Monday.

He told the girl he had a knife and threatened her.

The girl managed to get away from the suspect, ran to school and reported what had happened.

The suspect is described as a white male who is believed to be 19 to 22 years of age. Police say he is between 5'6" and 5'10" with a thin build. He had dark, spiky hair, a large nose and he was last seen wearing dark clothing.

On Monday a letter was sent home to parents warning them about what police are now calling a sexual assault.

The school also laid out streetproofing tips for parents, which it says are regularly taught in class.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, or to call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.