City School District In No Hurry to Report Sexual Assault Allegation
posted by June 26 at 11:33 AMon
As the Times and P-I have reported, Rainier Beach High School officials failed to report an alleged sexual assault of a girl by two boys, waiting until the girl filed a complaint with the school to report the assault to police.
According to the Times’ account of the police report, the girl told police the two boys began sexually harassing her in a supervised history class. After the class ended, she said, they followed her into the hall, where one of them grabbed her and unzipped her shirt. She said she struggled and hit the boy, who then dragged her into a nearby restroom and sexually assaulted her in a stall while the other boy stood watch outside. She immediately went to school officials and reported the assault.
Their response? The two boys were suspended… for three days.
Although the boys were eventually expelled for nine days (after the end of the school year), it’s worth putting that punishment in context. If three days’ suspension is the standard punishment for raping a girl in a bathroom, it stands to reason that punishments for other offenses must be similarly lenient.
Except, of course, that they aren’t. From a look at other punishments meted out by Seattle school officials over the past few years, it appears that Seattle school officials take sexual assault less seriously than insulting teachers, playing senior-year pranks, and talking back. According to news reports, here are a few examples of punishments for offenses committed at Seattle schools.
Six to 90 days for creating a false MySpace page in a teacher’s name.
Four days for eating in class and talking back to a teacher.
Seattle Public Schools’ disciplinary code classifies sexual assault as “exceptional misconduct,” in the same category as selling drugs, gang membership, and bringing guns to school. So why didn’t Rainier Beach officials treat it that way?