A Facebook post that went viral this week has sparked outrage for something incredibly frustrating: yet another high school seems to have chosen to ignore an alleged sexual assault case. The post, written by the victim’s cousin, accuses three male students from Texas school Coppell High School of sexually abusing his cousin. The post alleges the three male teens convinced the boy, who as Asperger syndrome, to follow them into a bathroom, where they supposedly threatened to beat him up if he didn’t cooperate. They then told him to pull down his pants, and when he did, they allegedly took photos of his genitalia and put them all over Snapchat and Twitter. If this is true, the behavior is truly disgusting, and so is the fact that, so far, the school isn’t penalizing the boys for the alleged attack.
Although the viral Facebook post generated a lot of media attention and led to a police investigation, the accused students are still expected to graduate from Coppell High School this week. According to the post, the victim’s parents filed a report to the school, but no punishment seemed to come from it. The victim’s cousin says that it seems like school officials are trying to cover up the incident before the school year ends. You can read what he had to say here:
However, it’s worth noting that Texas news channel WFAA say they spoke to one of the accused boy’s uncles, who said that his nephew is suspended from school grounds for everything aside from finals and isn’t allowed to walk at graduation. He did note, though, that his nephew is not facing criminal charges. The school issued the following statement on Facebook, saying that they were investigating.
On Tuesday, police said they are not pursuing criminal charges after some investigation. The police department gave a statement that said, “The student and his parent were interviewed on Friday May 26 2017, and understood that no criminal offense occurred based on the facts presented.”
This is confusing, because WFAA has two students on camera talking about the incident. One girl describes what happened, another girl says, “It was cyber-bullying, because they were sending the videos they have of him out to people, and that’s just not okay, not even for anybody. It’s not okay for anybody.” It’s not only the victim talking about this, so why is it being treated like no big deal?
It’s clear that we don’t know exactly what happened here, but it certainly sounds like something terrible went down – and it feels like this was handled incorrectly. As the original viral Facebook post states, this kind of behavior violates the Title IX constitution, which is supposed to protect students from sexual violence. We need to make it clear: something like this is sexual violence. Convincing someone to get naked so that they can get photographed is not only sexual harassment, it can also be considered child pornography, depending on the age of those involved. It doesn’t matter the gender, since sexual harassment happens to men, women, and those who identify as non-binary. What make this even worse is the fact that the alleged victim has Asperger’s, which is a developmental disorder that makes it hard to kids and teens to socialize among their peers.
If it’s true that the school and the police are choosing to ignore the claims, and if the claims are real, then this is really disappointing, to put it lightly. Unfortunately, this isn’t very uncommon: schools prefer to cover up these situations instead of “ruining the futures” of the assaulters, despite the fact the the victim’s life is already ruined. This whole alleged attack is heartbreaking. No acting being taken after something like this just sends the message that teens can assault and harass without any consequence. We as a society need to hold people accountable for their actions, no matter if they are graduating soon or star athletes. It’s time for all of us to speak out to help victims and survivors.
What do you think of this case? Tell us in the comments!