Mapleton, Utah – On Friday students at a Mapleton school walked out of class after the Nebo School District said it’s investigating reports of sexual harassment.
According to a student and parent in the community, several of the interactions go back to one male student at the school.
“She isn’t the first victim and she won’t be the last until this kid gets help, because he does need help,” said Lindsey Jones, mother of an 8th grader at Mapleton Junior High.
According to Jones’ daughter, Cassidy, a boy kissed her without permission the first week of school and has since grabbed her inappropriately. “We take every single complaint seriously, whether it’s written, verbal, every complaint,” said Lana Hiskey, a spokesperson for the district. “This administration at this junior high has done that.”
Jones said she thinks the inappropriate grabbing could have been avoided entirely. She said Cassidy has spoken up to the school before about what happened. “She’s reported several things to the office, and one of the administrators, in particular, hasn’t been taking it very seriously,” Jones said.
Hiskey, however, said, “…this was dealt with actually quite swiftly.”
“The hard part is, we can’t talk about what action is taken because of the law, and that’s the hard part,” Hiskey said. “We can’t even tell the alleged victim or even their parents.”
According to Cassidy, two of her classmates share similar experiences with the same male student. “We reported it, and multiple people did,” Cassidy said. “They had multiple witnesses and everything, and the school didn’t do anything about it, so we wanted to get something done.”
According to Hiskey, the administration has been investigating before the district became involved. “Anytime you’re doing an investigation, it takes time, because you want to be thorough so it’s really important that we do a good job with that,” Hiskey said. “That has happened here, and we’re really sorry that they haven’t realized that.”
Jones said she wasn’t aware of the incident until after the fact and added that it took several conversations with school leaders before the case went to the district. “The admin said, ‘Really? Again? Are you sure?’ and that was so not appropriate,” Jones said. “When I told him that, he said, ‘If you don’t like it, you can send your kid to another school.’ And that needs to change. You don’t punish the victims.”
According to district leaders, they are addressing the situation and that counselors are available to talk to students when they need.