Allegations of sexual assault during the day ought to raise questions about school policies

There’s a shocking story in the Macon Telegraph about an alleged rape of a student with special needs. What makes the story so extraordinary is that it allegedly occurred during school hours after one of the alleged perpetrators was allowed to take the alleged victim from class. And there was an effort to keep the story from the public, an effort that was not successful because of the Macon Telegraph’s diligence. Once you read the news story, you will understand the effort to keep this from the public.

(A Telegraph blog reveals that the Bibb school chief did not know for 11 days that campus police were investigating the assault, rather than Macon police.)

First the basic details from the Telegraph story. (Please try to read the full piece.)

Seven teenagers at Northeast High School sexually assaulted a 16-year-old special-needs student inside a restroom as the school day wound down Jan. 19. That’s the allegation in a Bibb County campus police report that hasn’t been released to the public. Four 17- or 18-year-old students charged with raping the girl were still in the Bibb County jail Saturday. Three other students were taken to the Macon Youth Development Campus, where juvenile offenders are held.

Bibb County school officials released no information about the case until Jan. 24, and The Telegraph filed an Open Records Request for the initial campus police report that day. That report, subject to disclosure under Georgia law, wasn’t filed until Friday afternoon, eight days after the episode, according to Randy Howard, the Bibb County school system’s in-house attorney.

In a letter to a Telegraph attorney, Howard said school officials would get the police report Monday and “if there are no legal objections or confidentiality issues, we will produce the incident report.”

Several people in the school system are familiar with the report, and one person provided details to The Telegraph before its release. Here is what happened at the school Jan. 19, according to the multipage report:

That afternoon, sometime after 1 p.m., one of the male students who knew the 16-year-old went to the girl’s classroom and told the teacher that another school employee wanted to see the girl. The teacher let the girl leave class, and she walked down the hallway with the boy. That student led her to a nearby boys restroom. Two other male students were waiting near the restroom doorway.

Four other students either were already inside the restroom or came in later. School video captured the boy coming to the girl’s classroom, the boy and girl walking down the hallway and the two teens waiting outside the restroom. Inside the restroom, for the next hour, the seven students raped and sodomized the girl. The students threatened the girl and told her not to tell anyone what had happened. After the ordeal, the girl got dressed and was taken back to her classroom. By then, the school day had ended and the girl went home.

The alleged rape was reported to police by the girl’s mother.

A former Bibb teacher sent me these questions after reading the story: “Why were seven students unaccounted for for an hour? Why hasn’t a letter been sent to parents?”

I have my own questions: Did the teacher who released the teenage girl confirm in any way that she was suppose to see  another school employee? How common is it for a student to enter a class and escort another student out of the room? In most schools, doesn’t the office call the classroom teacher?

There are many more questions, and I hope parents in Macon are asking them.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

61 comments Add your comment

Sandusky did too from GM

February 1st, 2012
9:15 am

Checking a child out of the classroom without the parent’s permission is also how child rapist, Sandusky, isolated his victims. Without parental knowlege or permission, Sandusky went to schools and simply checked the boys out of school. The administration allowed it and the parents were never told.

I agree with the Bibb county teacher who wrote “Why were seven students unaccounted for for an hour?”

The seven rapists were also not in class. How did the teachers not know they were not in the classroom? This is why our teachers took role at the beginning of class and why all of us were required to have a hall pass if we left the classroom for any reason.

I’ll bet this school had similar policies but they weren’t followed. Again, we need cameras always on in hallways in classrooms just like at a convenience store. We have to have more safety in our schools.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 1st, 2012
9:24 am

“I’ll bet this school had similar policies but they weren’t followed.”

Bingo!

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

February 1st, 2012
9:32 am

After forty years of experience with publicly-funded schools, I am not surprised.

Maureen, we’ll have to get together for lunch so I can share some of my similarly incredible stories with you.

Atlanta Media Guy

February 1st, 2012
9:37 am

A gang rape! What an incredibly sad story. Our schools are no longer safe. Here in DeKalb we’re teaching kids it’s okay to sexually harass females. Our new BOE chairman is an accused sexual harasser. Our tax money went to pay for his misdeeds, as Georgia paid the victim to keep it from going to trial.

We must hold our school leaders accountable. Our family is praying for the victim and her family.

WAR

February 1st, 2012
9:45 am

Did the teacher who released the teenage girl confirm in any way that she was suppose to see another school employee? probably not. it is common practice that students come to another room and request another student to “come to the attendance office” or front office or go see someone. sometimes the student has a note and sometimes not, but most teachers trust this request.

How common is it for a student to enter a class and escort another student out of the room? very common like car accidents on 285.

In most schools, doesn’t the office call the classroom teacher? no anymore. many times the pa system is used for morning/afternoon announcements. teachers complain about being disturbed through the day, so the office doesnt usually call.

WAR

February 1st, 2012
9:48 am

7 students were “accounted” for. they were present. they could have had tardy passes, permission notes to be in the hallway, or simply not marked present or absent in class.

i bet many of you believe students go to class on time and are in their seats when the bell rings waiting for the teacher to instruct them on the days lesson.

To War from GM

February 1st, 2012
9:53 am

War, you say “it is common practice that students come to another room and request another student to “come to the attendance office” or front office or go see someone.”

Why is that? Why isn’t the student, who is requesting to remove another student, in class as well?

Some classrooms have telephones in them. Maybe that would help to solve the problem…but good old fashioned hall slips work well too. I still don’t see why it is necessary to send a student to a room to get another student but if it is necessary, the first student should have some kind of handwritten and signed permission slip. That’s what we used 30 years ago and it worked. Why is this an issue today? My kids are still young so there aren’t any other students old enough to escort them from room to room but I don’t want to wait until they are older to have them become victims. This type of crime can happen anywhere where adults ignore safety policies.

WAR

February 1st, 2012
9:59 am

GM

1 students are usually sent because if adults leave the room and something happens, then the adult is liable for anything that happens. then we will ask why did the teacher leave the class and not send a student

2 telephones are good, but sometimes classroom numbers are wrong, teachers dont pick up or ignore the call.

3 hall passes and permission slips are usual and standard, but some teachers dont use them.

ultimately the point is that we simply dont expect children to act like this. i would not be surprised that the culprits have a history of bad behavior.

WAR

February 1st, 2012
10:06 am

as a simple request, i hope these young men are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. i pray they go to jail and receive the kind of justice only incarceration can provide. as a parent, i feel the mothers pain and wish her and the child a speedy recovery. besides if any of these culprits are ever released, i pray they receive the street justice that only streets can provide.

To War from GM

February 1st, 2012
10:29 am

You say “i bet many of you believe students go to class on time and are in their seats when the bell rings waiting for the teacher to instruct them on the days lesson.”

My school had good old fashioned policies. If we were going to leave the class for any reason, we had to have a pink permission slip from our teacher with our name, the teacher’s signature and the time and date.
Every teacher took role at the beginning of the class. When a kid was not present, she checked his name against the “absent” list created at the beginning of the day in home room. If the child was not present at class but appeared in home room, it was reported, immediately.

My principal and teachers were also all out in the hallways between classes shooing kids into their rooms and if someone was out in the hallway walking around, you can bet they were asked to see their hall pass.

If we so much as needed to go to the bathroom, we had to have a hall pass in order to get out of class.

This is just plain old fashioned, inexpensive effective school policy.

If we want a more accurate and timely system we can use what my office uses, an electronic ID card. We badge ourselves into each room and in and out of the buildings. You can put card readers and scanners in schools too.

These tragedies make me want to put a GPS tracker on my kid. It’s possible. I already have one on my car and I have a chip in my dog.

To War from GM

February 1st, 2012
10:34 am

War, so what you are telling me then is that security is possible and the policies are in place but they aren’t being followed. A phone list with accuratre numbers is easy to fix and a teacher not answering her phone is easy to fix.

If an adult needs to get a child out of a class, then taht adult can walk to the classroom and ask for the student. The teacher doesn’t need to move out of her room.

I can’t even imagine what a child would be called to the front office. The only time I was ever out of class is when my parents occassionally picked me up from school early to make an appointment and that was very rare.

For what reasons are all these kids being pulled out of class ? It sounds very suspicious to me and very frightening.

cris

February 1st, 2012
10:50 am

disgusting….what’s even more disgusting are the attempts to cover up the story.

Ron F.

February 1st, 2012
10:50 am

GM: kids skip classes, no matter what policy you put in place. I’ve been doing this for about 24 years, and somehow they manage to skip if they really want to badly enough. Now in this case, the fact that seven managed it clearly speaks to a need for change in whatever policy this school has, that’s for sure. In my school, there is no official attendance report sent out daily. You mark children absent in the computer and then get busy teaching. Electronic ID cards are a good idea, but they cost money at a time when schools can afford enough paper or basic supplies. The problem here is the teacher letting the child go. I would think it would be basic policy that you don’t let a special needs child leave the room without an adult. The blame here is clearly on the teacher who let the girl leave.

V for Vendetta

February 1st, 2012
10:50 am

In high school, students can work as office aids. Therefore, they deliver messages to other classrooms and often escort other students from the room. This is not unusual at all.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 1st, 2012
10:50 am

“These tragedies make me want to put a GPS tracker on my kid.”

Why? The girl was raped at school, where she was supposed to be, so how could a tracker have helped her?

cris

February 1st, 2012
10:53 am

ummm…the blame is on the seven males who raped her. Should there have been safeguards against this happening? There were, but it seems these 7 students figured a way around them and from the story seems as if they spent some time planning this. But the teacher’s fault? Please rethink that comment…..

Former SPARK parent

February 1st, 2012
10:58 am

Special-ed programs are hard to run and the laws are complicated. Rather than meet this challenge, many districts

(especially APS, where Bev Hall’s bonus was not tied to special-ed performance, which caused her to subsequently ignore the program, refuse to install a credible leader when the old one retired, and ultimately put an in-over-his-head former middle-school principal whose HR missteps had just cost the district a $97,500 settlement (Aaron Fernander, who was just “retired” by Erroll Davis) in charge)–

–just throw their hands up, settle individual lawsuits quickly and quietly, and pray they aren’t targeted in a class-action suit.

I don’t know about Macon, but APS stashed some of its worst employees in special-ed, where they caused (and continue to cause) a jarring dissonance with some of the truly dedicated, highly motivated employees who CHOSE to help special-needs children as a career. I hate to turn every conversation into an indictment of Bev Hall, but one of the worst things she ever did–and more proof that she, as a person, is evil personified–was to blithely preside over the utter disintegration of the Program for Exceptional Children.

So when people on here bash Maureen (and Shirley Franklin, and Andrew Young, and Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, among the MANY people who should’ve known better) for their inexplicable, unyielding support of Bev Hall, they have just cause.

Cluefull

February 1st, 2012
11:00 am

agree with cris… everybody attempting to come up with some set of rules to prevent this is rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. Focus on the rapists. Its not cool, its not funny, now go to big boy jail and fend off rapists yourselves.

V for Vendetta

February 1st, 2012
11:11 am

I somewhat disagree that the teacher(s) are not at fault here. Though I am in no way as alarmist as GM, I do think there is some fault to be found with the teachers. I’m willing to bet that these seven animals are not the best students in the school. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that they have had some sort of serious discipline problems before, so why were they not held more accountable for their whereabouts? I have taught EBD kids for years, and I am far more critical of their requests to leave the room than I am towards those of my honors students.

Of course, I could be completely off base. Maybe these were gifted students. But I doubt it.

Maureen Downey

February 1st, 2012
11:15 am

@V, That is my thought as well — that the teen who came to escort this girl probably has a history of discipline infractions and would be an unlikely choice for an emissary.
Maureen

To Dr. Proud Black Man from GM

February 1st, 2012
11:17 am

A GPS tracker is more specific than you think. It can pinpoint the location of anyone in a room in a house, not just inside a building. A parent with a web cam can see a child being taken out of class and not returned..for an hour.

Just think about it, Black Man, do you have a GPS on your car? It knows on which street to turn and it alerts you to turn in 500 feet, 400 feet and so on. The technology is already there and it is already very cheap. My state of teh art GPS on my car was less than $300.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 1st, 2012
11:22 am

@GM

For a GPS tracker to work like you say it would have to be tied in to the school’s security/camera system which I DOUBT the school would let you do. Also you would need a blueprint of the school to know the building layout.

To cris from GM

February 1st, 2012
11:22 am

Although I admire your tenacity to punish the rapists, what parents value more is prevention. I’d rather my child not be fed semen in the first place. I’d rather my child not be raped in the first place.

Prevent the crime. Any teacher taking role would know if the child was not in the class and could have reported their absence to the office who could send someone out to look for the child.

Now, how is it not the teacher’s fault that she allowed this special needs child to be put into the hands of a rapist? he had no permission slip, no authority and no reason other than someone requested her? For what? Why? by Whom? Prove it. Those would be my questions.

If my poor school could handle security with no technology 30 years ago, I’m sure we could handle it today. It just takes adults who care.

To Black Man from GM

February 1st, 2012
11:25 am

You don’t understand technology. The technology is there and it’s already cheap. I don’t need a blue print of the school. All that is needed is to measure it, room by room, just like layouts of the roads and avenues. It’s easy. A programmer friend of mine actually did it for her entire country (albeit a small country).

…and if parents like me were willing to pay for it, what business is it of yours and why would you care?

Ron F.

February 1st, 2012
11:55 am

V: I can’t help but wonder why the teacher would let the student leave with another kid. I have them come by needing to speak to another student, but I don’t let them out in the hall. If they have a note from a teacher/admin. whose handwriting I recognize, then I might let them go. I just can’t imagine why a special needs teacher would let the girl go just because a student came after her- at this point, that appears to be a case of bad judgment at the very least.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 1st, 2012
11:58 am

@ GM

“You don’t understand technology.”

Condescending.

” I don’t need a blue print of the school. All that is needed is to measure it, room by room, just like layouts of the roads and avenues.”

You don’t understand common sense.

The Phantom

February 1st, 2012
12:33 pm

GM, why are you worried about the GPS technology? Surely the private school you just enrolled your child in wouldn’t allow students who were potential rapists, would it?

Or were you lying about that?

Are you paid by Maureen or the AJC to be the resident troll, to boost the number of postings?

mathmom

February 1st, 2012
12:35 pm

In addition to school policies, the juvenile justice system and the confidentiality laws regarding juvenile offenders assure us that sooner or later the juvenile rapists in this case will be in a school near you and your daughters, and you will not know.

Beverly Fraud

February 1st, 2012
12:53 pm

“So when people on here bash Maureen (and Shirley Franklin, and Andrew Young, and Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, among the MANY people who should’ve known better) for their inexplicable, unyielding support of Bev Hall, they have just cause.

They DID know, Former SPARK. As far back as 2001 when AJC reporter Paul Donsky BLEW THE LID off of the top of the WIDESPREAD, SYSTEMIC cheating that permeated APS even back THEN.

At least Jay Bookman had the INTEGRITY to express buyer’s remorse.

As far as this story, it’s a common but sad theme. Discipline TOTALLY out of control.

bootney farnsworth

February 1st, 2012
1:09 pm

while I’ve never had to deal with a gang rape where I work, I have had to deal with student assualts, gang fighting, ect.

first the instruction to say nothing. direct all inquires to the appointed trustworthy mouthpiece.

2nd, when faculty start asking questions, deflect-deflect-deflect.

3rd, gather together any witnesses and victims. use stick and carrot approach – mostly stick- to demand silence.

4th, warm up the discrediting machine in case somebody talks. have
the defamation program to label the poor sap a democrat/republican/capitalist/socialist/homophobe…as fits the occasion best.

5th, hope to the wood spirits -prayer to a divine power not permitted except for some muslims in very limited specifications- all this blows over before anyone can find out.

6th, when calm, remove all evidence anything ever occured while no one is looking. then rewrite history to show nothing ever happened

cris

February 1st, 2012
1:38 pm

@GM
-first of all, I’m sure the teacher in question is absolutely sick and blaming themselves at this point – I’m also sure that said teacher did not send student out with another student knowing or even suspecting that he and others had a gang rape in mind
-second, at my school, roll is taken each class period using the computer and unfortunately, while it should be easy to check the history of attendance for each of my students for the day, in reality I would have to click on each individual student and scroll through their schedules which would mean that I spend 10-15 minutes of class checking for MIA students – we’ll call it a glitch in the program which I have questioned before (don’t know how they do attendance in Macon)
-third, while we have an “attendance officer”, they can only monitor so many students at once, so class cutters are usually not caught and punished until the next day
-lastly, I – like you would prefer that this have been prevented all around…I like to think that each time a student comes to my room requesting another student accompany them, I would check for written proof….and while I certainly believe that all systems who hear of this will begin to tighten up to prevent issues like this in the future….there is no way anyone (other than the quilty parties) could see this coming…

Phantom from Good Mom

February 1st, 2012
1:46 pm

Ah Phantom, so nice to hear from you. Why yes, Maureen pays me by the column inch to blog here. It gives me some spending money and her extra ratings boost keeps her employed. (You’re so smart!)

Now about that private school…pedophiles seek out the teaching profession. They don’t care whether it is a private or a public school just as long as they are young and available.

Just love to hear from you, Phantom. So nice of you to keep in touch!
buhbye.
GM

To cris from Good Mom

February 1st, 2012
1:50 pm

Cris, you disappoint me. You say you have to click on each student to check their attendance for the day and that would take too long.

Cris, Buddy, let me give you a little hint. you don’t have to check teh attendance of all students….just the ones who are not in your class .
Now if old Mrs. Locklin in my English class can call roll and see whos is absent with a gradebook and her little red pen, I am sure you can do it with your nice expensive computer.

If old Mrs. Locklin can write her name and time on a slip of paper and create a hall pass, so can you with your nice computer.

We don’t need technology to solve the problem here. All we need are adults who care about the students.

To V for Vendetta from Good Mom

February 1st, 2012
1:56 pm

You said the students worked as office assistants. I see that. We had those in high school too. they were always given to very trustworthy students but still all had to have a handwritten note by the school secretary. The student provided the feet but the adult provided the authority with proof.

In either case, it is highly unlikely that the office assistant was the rapist. this teacher shouldn’t have handed over a student to another student with no proof. This tragedy was easily prevented, which is another tragedy in itself.

cris

February 1st, 2012
2:13 pm

@GM
you dissapoint me with your condescending attitude and your inability to understand that because someone disagrees with your opinion, you must attack them and question their motives. If you were currently in the teaching profession, you would realize that to catch a “skipper” means that you don’t just check students that are absent from your class, but you look at the entire class day…i.e little Johnny may have skipped the class before mine, but for some reason he wanted to come to mind. And taking a fourth of my class time to check for skippers is, I believe, a waste of instructional time. And I also always send notes (and expect to be sent notes) to teachers when it involves a student doing the delivery….so if you would close your foaming mouth for a moment, you would realize that I’m not trying to excuse anyone…but I’m also not going to lay the blame for a gang rape on someone that had no part in the actual assault that was so carefully planned and executed. This situation seems to be a lot like 9/11 – should it have been prevented? If someone, somewhere had caught all those clues ahead of time and put them together, couldn’t have been prevented? Yes, but hindsight is 20/20….and some things you just don’t see coming….well, except for you GM, bastion of motherhood, education and all things perfection. Must be hard knowing it all….and being limited to sharing all knowledge via a blog for the AJC.

cris

February 1st, 2012
2:13 pm

Former SPARK parent

February 1st, 2012
3:47 pm

@Beverly: We can excuse Andrew (”I don’t care about no damn cheating!” Young, who’s simply old and doddering. But Maureen and especially Shirley, whose influence far outpaces their common sense, refuse to acknowledge, even now, that the power-drunk addict they enabled swiped all the jewelry and silverware and drove off in the family car in the middle of the night, cackling wildly and banging a calypso rhythm on the dashboard…

To cris from Good Mom

February 1st, 2012
4:05 pm

Ah, cris, you are like catlady. You refuse to admit that any teacher can do any wrong.

You two must be scratching in the same litter box….ew.

Long time educator

February 1st, 2012
6:19 pm

Allowing disruptive students to remain in regular high school prevents the good students from learning and, as this incident shows, sometimes endangers the others. We do not know the background of the offenders, but I have seen judges put students who have been convicted of crimes right back into the public school because they hate to assign them to prison. They look young and pitiful standing in court with a crying mother and they have pity on them. The judge doesn’t focus on the students and teachers they put at risk when they do this. Someone needs to stand up for them. Delinquents should not be allowed back into public schools.

annoyed with GM

February 1st, 2012
6:53 pm

Ahh, GM is back to being completely ridiculous. All is right with the world again. I was getting a little concerned when I was agreeing with some of what she was saying for a few days in a row. cris, thanks, you made me laugh. As to the topic, it seems that mistakes were made by school personnel, but the blame for the crime must fall on the heads of the animals who raped the girl. I don’t know if this incident has anything to do with it, but at my school, attendance issues are front and center all of a sudden. If a teacher does not take roll in the first 10 minutes of class, serious consequences follow. We’re all grumbling about the heavy-handed way these threats are being delivered,but clearly,safety is a serious issue when students are roaming around freely.

V for Vendetta

February 1st, 2012
7:04 pm

Hey, GM. Whose fault is it when students like this don’t learn?

http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/marietta-principal-assures-parents-1326828.html

Since these two jumped a POLICE OFFICER in the CAFETERIA, that should somehow fall under the teachers’ jurisdiction and therefore be their collective fault? Right? While we’re at it, make sure my paycheck is tied to the test scores of these animals. That would be great.

Teacher2

February 1st, 2012
7:06 pm

@PBM -that was too funny!

@ GM

“You don’t understand technology.”

Condescending.

” I don’t need a blue print of the school. All that is needed is to measure it, room by room, just like layouts of the roads and avenues.”

You don’t understand common sense.

Teacher2

February 1st, 2012
7:09 pm

@PBM

GM is too dumb to know that she just described a blueprint. LOL

@To All
Please don’t feed Troll Good Mother.

Teacher2

February 1st, 2012
7:14 pm

@Cris

“so if you would close your foaming mouth for a moment”….
“Yes, but hindsight is 20/20….and some things you just don’t see coming….well, except for you GM, bastion of motherhood, education and all things perfection. Must be hard knowing it all….and being limited to sharing all knowledge via a blog for the AJC”.

So true…so true

Troll Alert

February 1st, 2012
7:24 pm

Can we start donating money toward therapy for Good Mother, so the blog will not be overcome with her constant nonsense? I feel like she uses this blog as a couch. I am not trained to handle this level of ignorance on a daily basis. It should be left to a professional in the field of psychotherapy.

To Teacher2 Good Mom

February 1st, 2012
7:33 pm

I’ll be glad to accept your money. Feel free ;)

To V Good Mom

February 1st, 2012
7:35 pm

Ah V, smoke and mirrors. When you can’t intelligently debate a topic, you change the subject.

As Mahopinion has asked over and again, please any teacher explain why a cup full of a teacher’s sperm was in the waste can of his classroom.

Bueler? Bueler? Anyone?

ScienceTeacher671

February 1st, 2012
8:13 pm

At our school, students are called to the office, guidance, etc. via the intercom. Occasionally a student will come with a note from another teacher requesting a student, and I might let the student go in that case.

Students do skip class, and we usually can’t do anything about that until class is over at the soonest. Students frequently check in/out during the day due to illness, doctor appointments, etc., so a student could be present one period and absent the next or vice versa.

And of course, there is no one patrolling the halls to see that students aren’t just roaming around or hanging out in the restrooms.

another comment

February 1st, 2012
8:23 pm

Of course we can not forget the “rape” that the asst. Principal from Marietta High School Son was arrested for allegedly committing in the Campbell High School Bathroom against another MHS student, during a Basketball game. I am sure no one thought this AP son was a bad seed until this happened. Of course, money and position talks in Cobb County and the charges were dropped months later. This was first reported to the Campbell Students and Parents by Channel 2, AJC and Marietta Daily Journal.

HS Math Teacher

February 1st, 2012
8:38 pm

How did the Superintendent, Dallemand, not know that the Bibb County Sheriff’s department wasn’t notified immediately? Campus security kept the matter “in house” for several days?!?!?! If I so much as suspect a kid has been abused at home, on campus, or otherwise, I’m calling the sheriff’s department, FACS, and then the principal. To hell with school protocol.