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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Alleged Assault at RBHS

I had read about this incident a couple of days ago and wasn't going to post on it but now a criminal investigation has been launched and the boys expelled (somewhat after the fact). Basically a girl alleges that a boy was harassing her during class (verbally and putting hands on her), that the class ended and he followed her into the hall, continuing the harassing and finally pulling her into a boys' bathroom where he assaulted her while another boy stood guard. It was reported to the school later that day by the girl and an unnamed adult. The school did not notify the police and it is unclear if they told the district. The boys were initially expelled for 3 days.

The district has clear-cut rules on criminal behavior and yet the principal did not call the police. Of course, the girl and her family could have but may have thought telling the school administration would trigger that. What is also odd is that when the boy touched her in class, why didn't she go to her teacher? After she left class and he continued to bother her, why didn't she go into the nearest classroom and tell a teacher? I'm not blaming this girl for the alleged attack but I can't understand if adults were around her why she wouldn't have gone to someone especially after it became physical. Did she feel she would not be helped or believed?

Very troubling.

8 comments:

Jet City mom said...

I was sexually assaulted on school property when I was in junior high by a group of boys.As soon as I got away, my first thought was to get as far away from there as I could. If no adult had noticed the commotion, I feel it is unlikely to start looking for one.

Adults may react just as many in this community have, assume that the girl is lying. Unless you have an adult close at hand, that you know is going to be sympathetic and helpful, I think not telling someone till later is perfectly reasonable, from the victims point of view.

I told my mother at the time- I expected that she would tell the school- she may have reported it to the school, I do remember being vaguely questioned by a counselor, but that was all that happened.


In retrospect it probably wasn't much of a leap when I was raped by an aquaintance a few years later, and I didn't tell anyone. Why? It was horrible enough to think about without anyone else knowing. I don't think I could have stood being picked apart and abused again in court.

Women are made to feel that sexual assault and harrassment is their fault. Because of the way they look, because of the way they dress.
What girl in her right mind is going to lie about being assualted in a boys bathroom?
Particulary when the boy already admitted to harrassing her?

BUt that is for the police to decide- well after the fact when stories can be gotten straight and evidence lost.
THe principals job was not to secure evidence, but it is to report any suspected abuse or neglect within 48 hours.

The report must be made at the first opportunity, but in no
29 case longer than forty-eight hours after there is reasonable cause to
30 believe that the child has suffered abuse or neglect. The report must
31 include the identity of the accused if known.



We must protect our children.

Jet City mom said...

I understand that for those of you who feel that the boys- involved were innocent or don't deserve to be suspended, remember that protecting the girl doesn't mean they are going to be thrown in jail.
Notifying the police doesn't mean that their names are going to be splashed across the evening paper.

But not telling anyone who can investigate, and suspending them for three days- the same as if someone is caught smoking, is tantamount to telling the girl that she doesn't matter and that she is not believed.

Jet City mom said...

I was just re-reading the article regarding a first year teacher at Cleveland in 2003, that used the "n" word in class to illustrate how offensive it was to use " gay" to describe an assignment.

The NAACP advocated for his firing.
( He wasn't fired but he "quit")
Who is advocating for this girl?



http://www.musc.edu/vawprevention/
research/sexharass.shtml


What responsibility do schools have to end and/or prevent sexual harassment?

According to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ guidelines, schools are required by the Title IX regulations to adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of all sex discrimination complaints, including complaints of sexual harassment. Students should be notified of the procedures which should be written in language appropriate to the age of the school's students. Without a widely understood grievance procedure in place, a school (or school district) is held liable regardless of whether or not sexual harassment has occurred.

A school that does have a grievance procedure is liable for any conduct of its students that creates a sexually hostile environment where (a) the school knows (or should have know) of the harassment, and (b) the school fails to take immediate and appropriate steps to remedy it.


As the parent of a high school daughter, I think that we aid and abet an environment where sexual harrassers can move up to assault out of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

And then people wonder why we in Southeast Seattle are worried about the SE Initiative not being enough. You can throw money at a school, but that doesn't mean that the principal still won't make these kinds of decisions. Robert Gary is so concerned about being "cool" (or is it "hip") with the kids that there aren't high standards for either behavior or academics.

What this school needs is a change in leadership. Period.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I absolutely did not mean that the girl is lying; I'm sorry if that was the impression. I feel sad that she didn't feel she could go to the teacher in her classroom AND that she repeatedly said no and go away and was not listened to by the boy in question.

Anonymous said...

First, I think that this subject is one which there is no really accurate information on yet. We do not know what the student told the police versus what she told school staff and when she told them. We don't even know if she ever told her full story to someone worked at the school. I have to say, I think that this one should not have been posted until more information was known.

Michael Rice said...

Hello

I was hoping this topic would not be brought up, but I guess that was unrealistic, so here goes:

All I can say is for everyone to hold judgment till all the information comes out. There is much more to this story than what was made the newspapers and TV stations.

For South End Mom who thinks Mr. Gary is more interested in being hip than academics or proper behavior, nothing could be farther from the truth. Mr. Gary is more committed to turning RB around than anyone. He is passionate about the academic achievement of the students at RB and he is on students to behave properly all day long. He is in the hall and the classroom doing all he can. I admire and respect him and I am proud to say I work under him. Because of his support, he makes my job easier.

Anonymous said...

Michael,
While I appreciate your admiration for Mr. Gary, there are many (including former teachers who worked under him) who disagree. I do believe that Mr. Gary loves the students dearly. But that doesn't mean that he's the right person for the job.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.