LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) — Schools in the city of Lorain are calling for district-wide action after an impassioned student-led protest to raise awareness about sexual assault left the leaders in attendance “changed forever.”
In a letter to the community, superintendent Dr Jeff Graham said on Friday school administrators were aware students were gathering to talk about the sensitive topic after Lorain police opened an investigation into the allegations. students. It is not known, at this time, against whom these allegations are directed.
Dr Graham said headteachers were unprepared for the courage these secondary students would show as each took to the microphone and shared their stories, calling their stories deeply disturbing.
“Student after student took turns at the microphone – men and women – to paint a picture of what it means to be a teenager today that none of us wanted to see,” he said.
He admitted that the district is not keeping its promises to keep students safe.
“Our children are suffering,” he said. “And we adults, and all of our systems, processes and promises, fail to protect them – from each other, from us and from themselves.”
In the hours following the assembly, Graham said Lorain High School Principal Pat Coleman and his team connected with “the families of many students who shared their stories – some for the very first times – in their own words, the only way they knew how.
According to the school district, some students said they reported the abuse to staff but felt “minimized” or said no action was ever taken; that is under investigation by an outside agency.
On Tuesday, the district planned to set up a crisis team at the school to provide emotional support.
He said the district is working with the Lorain Police Department by having high school detectives available to take reports of abuse.
“In the meantime, we must work together to do whatever it takes to continue to listen to children, protect them and help them,” he said. “As a society, our children deserve better.”
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