NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A group of students in East Harlem had a terrifying start to their school day that ended with a man facing multiple charges.

Students at the Isaac Newton Middle School for Math and Science in East Harlem say a man walked into the cafeteria at around 8 a.m. who wasn’t supposed to be there, and then he started grabbing an 11-year-old girl, reports CBS2’s Kevin Rincon.

“It was creepy,” said one student who was with the 11-year-old victim. “He started smiling at us, and at first we asked if he was related to you, but they didn’t say nothing.

“Then he started touching her and trying to pick her up, and then I screamed, ‘Do you know him?’ and she was like, ‘no,'” she said. “After that he ran and Mr. Campos ran after him.”

“I was going nuts because this is an awesome school,” said local resident Barbara Miranda. “I felt like it was a mistake that happened where maybe one of the people that were at the door that particular day it flew their mind.”

Prosecutors say 52-year-old Anthony Anderson followed two young girls into this school. He was arrested after a school employee heard students yelling.

Moments later, that employee confronted Anderson in the hallway.

“I don’t know what role he plays in the school but he really acted fast,” said Miranda. “He made them feel safe right away.”

The Department of Education says it’s reviewing the security protocols at this school and called the incident “completely unacceptable.”

As for the suspect, he’s facing several felony charges including sexual abuse, burglary and endangering the welfare of a child. He is being held in custody.

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