Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Public Education is a Disgrace

Thanks to administrators who allow developmentally disabled children to be sexually assaulted and do nothing to stop what they know is a crime.


POSTED: 2:25 pm EDT April 12, 2005
UPDATED: 9:11 am EDT April 13, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A 16-year-old disabled girl was punched and forced to engage in videotaped sexual acts with several boys in a high school auditorium as dozens of students watched, according to witnesses. . . .

The girl was forced to perform oral sex on at least two boys, according to statements from school officials, obtained by The Columbus Dispatch.

Part of the alleged assault was videotaped by a student who had a camera for a school project.

School officials found the girl bleeding from the mouth. An assistant principal cautioned the girl's father against calling 911 to avoid media attention, the statements said. The girl's father called police.

Her father said the girl is developmentally disabled. A special education teacher said the teen has a severe speech impediment.

Catch this outrage (emphasis added):

Also, the principal, Regina Crenshaw, was suspended and will be fired for not calling police, school officials said. And three assistant principals were suspended and will be reassigned to other schools.

If the assistant principals were aware, they should be fired immediately.

And, they should never be allowed near a public school position of responsibility ever again.

Absolutely incredible.


Captain's Quarters comments section has some even more infuriating details (from The New York Times):

When the father arrived, he asked whether the school administration was going to call the police, [Special Education Teacher] Mrs. Upshaw said in her statement. "[Assistant Principal] Mr. Watson said, 'No, we don't want to do that. We don't want the police,' " she told the investigators.

The father then stepped into the hallway and called the police on his cellphone.

Mr. Watson and other administrators told investigators that the principal, Regina B. Crenshaw, had also advised the father to avoid calling the police, the investigation report says. Mrs. Crenshaw recommended that the father return the next morning and report the incident to a police officer who was usually stationed at the school but who was not there on March 9, the report added.

"Do not call the police; let our officer handle it tomorrow, and you will be happy with the results," Mr. Watson said Mrs. Crenshaw told the father, the investigation report says.

I'm speechless. . . .

Now, the article also suggests Assistent Principal Watson (and other administrators) reported the action was consensual.

Color me stupid, but first of all, that is irrelevant. This is a school, not some adult playground.

Secondly, color me really stupid, is it consensual when she is beaten and her mouth is bleeding?

And, she told her special education teacher minutes after the incident?


Comments (including those of my compatriot in South Africa, Cousin Nancy!) have rightly observed that this does not happen only in public schools. I will not argue the obvious, that we are all sinners and capable of unspeakable horrors, but I will argue that those who cannot escape the public school system have no choice.

I think we can all agree that the fact that, as of this writing, Assistant Principal Watson has not been fired is inexplicable.

Wizbang! and Blue State Conservatives are exasperated as well.


Weekend update from the AP:

The district said it will fire Principal Regina Crenshaw and has suspended three assistant principals. Police have not said who will face charges, but a city attorney said school officials could be prosecuted along with the alleged assailants.

Witness statements to school investigators paint a picture of a slipshod response to the alleged assault, which came on the heels of other problems. Earlier in the day, administrators had to deal with an assault on a Somali student and a report that a student had a concealed weapon [Did the students know the school policeman was out for the day? -- Ed.]

Just after noon, the girl said four boys grabbed her by the arm. Students said one assailant punched the girl in the face and she dropped to her knees. One of the boys told her, "If you scream I'll have all my boys punch you."

She was forced to perform oral sex on at least two boys, according to statements from school investigators.

A student who had a camera for a school project videotaped the alleged assault, illuminated by light from a cell phone. Another witness said at least 15 people were in a room that looked into the auditorium because they had heard what was happening.

When some students eventually went to look for an adult, the boys involved in the alleged assault fled.

Police have not said how many boys may be charged, but plan to give their evidence to prosecutors early this coming week. Potential charges could include delinquency counts of rape and pandering obscenity, said spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio.

The boys, who have not been publicly identified, are not expected to return to class this school year, district spokesman Andrew Marcelain said.

Whether school administrators will be charged is unclear. State law requires officials to immediately report cases of abuse to law enforcement or face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, said City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr.

However, he said officials would be charged only if someone filed a complaint. So far, no complaint has been filed. An attorney for the girl's father would not say if he planned to file one.

The father is probably waiting to see if the Assistant Principals are fired.

If not, he would have significant motivation to file charges.