Sexual Assault Reports
A full investigation by a sexual harassment attorney firm has been launched to find out how sexual assault reports are being handled in Palo Alto after numerous parents and students attended a meeting where there was only room to stand this May. During the meeting there were many issues voiced that raised huge concern and shock as to how complaints were being handled at the High School.
Media reports were filed after there were repeated complaints against a student who sexually assaulted a high school student including forcing them to perform a sexual act in the church bathroom for which he was eventually convicted. After the allegations were exposed by the media the school chose to hire a sexual harassment attorney to investigate how the issues were handled. A contract with the sexual harassment attorney was already in place to investigate the earlier complaint in a bid to meet a resolution agreement with the education department. The closed meeting was to ensure three officials were evaluated as to their part in dealing with the case. The board decided not to take any action against personnel however in June a full evaluation will be publicised. For now the administrators still have their jobs, however a statement was disclosed stating that the accused student has chosen not to continue their school year. The only formal charge brought against him was for having consensual sexual activity with someone under aged.
The way the matter was dealt with appealed both students and parents and this was expressed on Tuesday as they all attended a meeting to enquire as to why multiple allegations of assault to a sexual harassment attorney were not dealt with efficiently by the trustees of the learning institution. Other incidents that were highlighted included personal admissions of sexual victimisation including being stalked on two different high schools in the area by another peer. One young lady reported being groped on the campus and after another student was sexually assaulted in the same way the first student came forward in a bid to stop the behaviour from continuing.
One stalking victim’s parents told the board that her daughter was terrified to attend the school after a stalking incident and felt that it had affected her whole life. The stalking incident had been reported, however the student and parents felt as though it fell on deaf ears as no support was offered. By coming forward the student had hoped to protect others from falling victim to similar experiences. As a result of the meeting the attendees were told they had no idea what had happened and that it would be looked into. Another parent came forward to voice her concerns that a student now convicted of assault had previously acted inappropriately to her daughter. There were further reports from another student stating that the same student had assaulted her off the campus ground but this could not be substantiated.
The board were urged to evaluate what role any sexual harassment attorney would have in regards to cases such as these and also what would be done to prevent it in the future. Many reactions were immediately voiced after the meeting including setting up a GoFundMe page to allow for the purchase of teal wristbands to show solidarity for those that have been victims of sexual assault. The funding goal was quickly surpassed allowing the student to purchase enough wristbands for each and every student. White was also worn by all students the following Monday to send a further message of solidarity. Identifying posters of the accused calling for the principle and superintendent leading the case to be fired due to their failure to protect the students they had previously promised to. Students were horrified that the accused student was allowed to remain within the school. The reaction was that it was felt that victimising the student in front of peers was not helpful and instead it was recommended that the community instead helped to reassess the addressing of the sexual assault as a whole to enable the victims to get the justice and support they need.