Outraged Parents Say School Never Reported the Sexual Assault of 5 Boys to the Police


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Yet another horrifying sexual assault is in the news, and this one is particularly disturbing because it involves teen-on-teen violence. The NYPD is investigating multiple allegations at a Brooklyn high school involving three older boys sexually assaulting up to five younger male students, and parents are questioning the way the school handled the incidents.

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According to CBS2, a 14-year-old boy was assaulted at It Takes a Village Academy by "an undisclosed number of bullies," whom he claims held him against a locker room wall after gym class on Friday and tried to put their fingers in his anus. Two 16-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy have been suspended, and the New York City Department of Education is investigating the allegations in cooperation with the NYPD.

"Safety always comes first and these deeply troubling allegations are being investigated. We are working in close partnership with the NYPD to ensure appropriate action is taken and are providing the school with ongoing support," Department of Education spokeswoman Miranda Barbot wrote in a statement.

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But sources say the school apparently didn't contact police right away -- or even at all -- about the attack; it was the alleged victim's mother who got in touch with the NYPD on Monday. The school's principal has since been reassigned. 

Even more upsetting, a spokesperson for the NYPD told BuzzFeed News that the alleged assault may not have been an isolated one. A total of five incidents (dating back to October) are now being investigated by the Brooklyn Special Victim Squad, involving five separate 14-year-old, male victims. One mother told Eyewitness News that her son had also been groped by a number of older students in a locker room. 

At present, there has been no explanation given as to why the school neglected to notify the authorities sooner (though the principal's reassignment would suggest this was not the proper protocol to follow). School officials are currently refusing to discuss the investigation, which is perhaps unsurprising. It would seem as though these incidents have been frequent enough to create a culture of fear among students; as one ninth grader explained to Eyewitness News, he just doesn't feel safe in the locker room.

"I feel like sometimes I could be hurt," he said.

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It's a heartbreaking and infuriating situation, but unfortunately not an uncommon one. According to one 2011 survey, in any given year, 58 percent of seventh to twelfth graders will experience some form of sexual harassment. Let that sink in: over half of all teens! Even worse, school policies on sexual harassment (or lack of policies, more accurately) are failing these victims, big-time. While these policies vary state to state, many experts agree that they are, by and large, either insufficient, poorly executed, or both. According to the anti–teen dating violence organization Break the Cycle, over 80 percent of high school guidance counselors feel "ill-equipped" to deal with reports of abuse.

We can only hope that the tide is finally beginning to turn when it comes to how we treat sexual violence in this country. Victims -- children in particular -- need to feel safe coming forward, and, most of all, they need to feel like their efforts will result in justice, not more heartache and shame. Schools must be a safe haven for our kids!

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