FLOSSMOOR, Ill. (WLS) — Students at a south suburban high school walked out of class Thursday after the alleged sexual assault of a classmate.
Students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School came out in waves, starting shortly after 1 p.m. and continuing all the way until school let out for the day at 3 p.m.
Police shut down a stretch of Kedzie at one point to allow student the time and space to express themselves.
The walkout was held in protest of the school administration’s handling of an alleged sexual assault said to have taken place during theater class early Monday moring.
“Last year we had the same incident and they didn’t handle the situation well at all. Same, we walked out. I feel like, we’re walking out but they’re not hearing us at all,” said Arianna Wright, student.
Student said they feel it is now up to them to effect a culture change within the school and its leadership.
“I just got out of a meeting with the principal where we discussed solutions and next steps forward” said student ambassador Aaron McIntyre. “We had these same conversations last year with the administration and things were not put into place as we can see. So now it’s up to us to make sure it happens this year.”
Despite initially being told that they would not be allowed to leave school property during the walkout, eventually students were allowed across the street where some of their parents were waiting in support.
“This was sexual assault, something you don’t play with. It could have been my daughter. Easily. The administration needs to be more transparent,” said parent Cori Burgess.
The mother of the student who was allegedly assaulted was also at the protest. She has asked to go by Jennifer Doe to protect her daughter’s identity.
“The students organized it, and I just showed up. That shows you how big of a problem this is,” she said.
The school district sent out a letter Thursday morning, saying in part, “We value student voice. At an open forum on Tuesday after school, we expressed to students the importance of their voice and participation while seeking their feedback in order to plan to move forward as a school and community. A second opportunity for open dialogue with students and administration is being planned in the near future.”
At this point, no one has been arrested in connection with Monday’s allegations. Investigators saying only that for now, they released the boy, who is a minor, into his father’s custody as the investigation continues.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.