Every now and again, there's a story in the news so sick that it makes me want to crawl back into bed and watch The Little Mermaid on repeat and forget there's a world outside my window. This gang-rape story of a 13-year-old girl is certainly one of them. Identified only as B.E., the girl was at her middle school in West Virginia waiting for her ride when she was allegedly raped by a group of high school boys on school property.
Her parents are suing the middle school on the grounds that the brutal rape could've been prevented if they'd done more to protect their daughter's safety. There were no fewer than four specific things the school did wrong that eventually led to the young girl being left outside, alone, and vulnerable. Four things.
The first thing was that a coach gave her a task late in the day that led to B.E. missing her ride home. She was told to collect cheerleading uniforms; she's the school's cheerleading captain and missed the bus. Strike one.
The girl then went to the school's office to ask if she could call her parents, and they allegedly said no, that she had to use a friend's cellphone. Strike two. So B.E. found a male friend on the basketball team and arranged that his parents would drive her home when they came to pick him up from practice. She called her folks to let them know the plan, then went back to the office to wait. No one was there though, and the doors were locked. Strike three. So B.E. next headed to the gym to pass the time, but the coach didn't like her watching practice and made her leave the gym. Strike four.
With nowhere to go, the young girl waited outside the gym. It was there where a group of high school athletes allegedly forced B.E. into a small room in the school and gang raped and physically abused her.
B.E. sought protection from her middle school four times and was denied at each turn. Of course no school official, or human being for that matter, would ever knowingly put a young girl in the position to be brutally raped, but the school did nothing to give this girl the security and supervision she needed. Waiting in the gym would've made perfect sense -- she could've sat in the bleachers and done her homework or texted her friends or whatever -- the point is there would've been warm bodies around to deter any misbehavior. Unfortunately the coach didn't see it that way.
I hope the school has to pay. When a student is turned away when seeking safety, someone's got to be held accountable. No one could have predicted what terrible things would end up happening to her, but it's the school's responsibility to keep the well-being of students a top priority because you never know what can happen.
Do you think the school should be held responsible for B.E.'s rape?
Photo via Alejandro Hernandez/Flickr