Parents whose children attend an elementary school in Texas are demanding answers after they learned that a first-grade girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by other students during class.
On April 19 , an unnamed 6-year-old girl was reportedly forced underneath a desk at South Elementary School in Plainview, Texas, and made to perform a sex act on another student while yet another classmate filmed it on a school-issued iPad. According to a statement issued by the district, the incident "occurred away from the full vision of the teacher," who was then attending to another group of students.
The school apparently learned about the incident the following day after another teacher confiscated the devices of several students who were not performing their assigned tasks. One such device was protected by a password and required the assistance of a technician to unlock. Once the device was unlocked, school officials discovered "inappropriate content," the statement said. The content is believed to be related to the alleged sexual assault of the young girl, though administrators have not confirmed that suspicion since the incident involves "minors" who "have a right to privacy," the statement said.
According to the district's statement, both law enforcement and Child Protective Services have been involved in investigating the matter. By April 27, the teacher had been placed on administrative leave, pending further investigation, and each of the students involved had been interviewed and their parents contacted, the district claimed.
The girl's family has told a different story, saying they learned about the incident from the girl, not from school administrators. According to the family, the girl began behaving strangely at the time of the alleged incident. Her adult cousin, Heather Gonzales , shared that the girl complained of stomachaches and other ailments. "She’s in distress," Gonzales said. "... You can tell something’s wrong with her."
When pressed, the girl reportedly first revealed that a male student had exposed himself to her at lunch. She later divulged the alleged sexual assault, telling her family that she repeatedly hit one of her assailants with "a poetry book" during the attack and kept fighting "until they let [her] go."
Gonzales claimed that the school stonewalled the family when they tried to get answers about the incident. "Everything was 'no comment. I cannot tell you. No comment,'" she said.
Outrage about the district's supposed lack of transparency has led to at least two public protests, and school was canceled on May 8 because of ongoing "threats of violence to teachers and staff members," the Plainview Herald reported. Still, parents are refusing to back down.
"A 6-year-old was exposed to things that even adults would have a hard time overcoming," said a parent of a student at another elementary school. "This is trauma at its worst, and it is a trickle-down effect because it affects everyone around them."
Sarah Fields, a self-described Republican and "investigative" journalist, asserted that the district has even threatened teachers and staff with retaliation if they speak publicly about the incident. "Teacher and staff are being told to be quiet or they will be fired," Fields tweeted. "The family is being treated by the school as if they caused this and that this is their fault. We will not be quiet and we will not sit down." Fields stated that yet another protest is scheduled for May 18 during a local board of trustees meeting.
\u201cUpdate on Plainview ISD - A protest is arranged. The event will take place on May 18th at the Plainview ISD complex during the school board of trustee meeting. We will be gathering to show our support for a family whose first-grade child was sexually assaulted in class by a group\u2026\u201d— Sarah Fields (@Sarah Fields) 1683416447
Despite the negative publicity, Plainview ISD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez defended his actions and the actions of other district staff and administrators. "We hope to find a direction with [parents and students] forward," Sanchez said. "Definitely for the young people and how we can help them heal and move forward." As of Monday afternoon, the school website is down, and the district's Twitter and Facebook accounts have not commented on the incident.
"My cousin is still at a desk with all boys, having to see her abusers every day," Gonzales said. "... Are you letting these other parents know their kids could possibly be a victim next? I feel like, as a parent, you should know."
"All of the steps that we’re required to take, we took," Sanchez insisted.
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here !