Monday, August 22, 2011

We Knew She Was Guilty, Except For That Innocent Part

Hooray! It looks like this country is going to hang together long enough to get another school year started, although South Dakota has decided to hedge its bets in case this whole public education thing turns out to be a bad investment. Oh sure, sure, Thomas Jefferson said, “To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education,” but he wasn't, like, infallible or anything, you know? Dude broke his wrist chasing chicks around Paris, fer chrissakes. So the people of South Dakota are just saying, "Hey, should we be listening to some horn dog when we can be cutting taxes on businesses so they'll hire more people for minimum wage, no benefit jobs? Don't think so."

Well, despite the fact that we all may just be going through the motions of being an actual country as the society Jefferson helped lay the foundation for crumbles down around our homeless, jobless ears, we here in the marbled halls can't help but be a little excited about the prospect of more students to annoy.

Then we read something like this and it occurs to us that with colleagues like these, perhaps South Dakota has the right idea.
A southwestern Missouri school district has denied accusations in a federal lawsuit that officials failed to protect a middle-school girl from being raped, calling the lawsuit "frivolous" and saying the girl "neglected to use reasonable means to protect herself." The girl, identified as a 7th grade special education student, was raped twice during the course of two school years, according to the lawsuit filed July 5 against Republic School District in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
"Hey, we got AYP to be worried about," said school principal Patricia Mithelavage. "We can't be watching these kids every minute. Besides, she's one of the short bus riders, if you get my drift. It's not like she's going to be raising our scores anyway."
The girl was first raped at Republic Middle School in the spring of 2009, according to the lawsuit. After the mother notified the school, the girl described the rape and "multiple sexual assaults" she'd experienced at school that year to school resource officer Robert Duncan, Mithelavage and school counselor Joni Ragain. They then told the mother that they thought that her daughter made it all up.
When asked why the school didn't request that the girl be examined right away to determine if an assault had occurred, Duncan replied that "it was a Friday afternoon before a long weekend."
During subsequent meetings described in the lawsuit as "intimidating interrogations," the lawsuit says the officials told the girl that they thought she was lying about the rape. The girl's mother was later told that her daughter recanted her story during one of those meetings. The family's lawyers note in the lawsuit that the girl's school file contains a psychological report describing her as adverse to conflict, passive and "would forgo her own needs and wishes to satisfy the request of others around so that she can be accepted."
"Yeah, what's your point?" Ragain asked.
Following instructions from the school, the girl wrote an apology to the boy she accused of raping her and had to personally give it to him, according to the lawsuit. She was then expelled for the remainder of the 2008-09 school year. The school also told "juvenile authorities" that she filed a false report.
We think it's very important to teach students to take responsibility for their actions. It's one of the guiding principles of our school," said principal  Mithelavage.
The school district denies all of the family's claims, saying that if anything happened it was the "result of the negligence, carelessness, or conduct of third parties over whom the District Defendants had neither control nor the right to control."
"Well, every rule has exceptions," she added,
The girl returned to the middle school for the 2009-10 school year and tried to avoid the boy, according to the lawsuit. It didn't work. She was sexually assaulted again but didn't tell anyone because she was afraid of being expelled again, her lawyers wrote in the lawsuit. She was allegedly raped a second time Feb. 16, 2010. School officials were notified of the incident and allegedly doubted the girl's claim, saying they'd "already been through this," according to the lawsuit. The girl was also examined and found to have been sexually assaulted. However, she was suspended from school for "disrespectful conduct" and "public display of affection," her lawyers wrote in the lawsuit.
 Mithelavage defended the school's action" "Hey come on. Once, OK, but twice? That's just a little bit slutty don't you think? We have pretty high standards of behavior around here."
A boy pleaded guilty in juvenile court to unspecified charges after the family notified police when the girl was raped a second time.
"Oh, he is so on detention," Mithelavag said, "Kid lied to us. Can you believe that?"
Local prosecutors found out about the lawsuit Monday night and were reviewing police reports to see if the school district violated any laws requiring abuse allegations to be reported to authorities.
"Yeah, we're thinking that whole call the girl a liar, never get her examined and throw her out of school  policy? That's probably not the way to go," said an official from the prosecutor's office who declined to be identified.

1 comment:

Green*Mother said...
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