No one was hurt in the attack, though. Now, Loudoun County sheriff’s deputies are urging parents to discuss the school district’s heightened expectations about the conduct of both students and employees with their children. Among the new requirements put in place this school year are a 20-minute video that students must complete to receive detention or time off school. In another video, which students must watch and keep secret for two weeks, the words “sexual, indecent or suggestive” are imprinted on a drawing that they make and are then asked to write the names of the students on the drawing. The school district also is requiring that safety videos be produced specifically about sexual assault, which officials say can bring out fear in some teens.
While police did not say they are looking for specific individuals in connection with the attacks on the students, they said the suspects in the two incidents may be linked to the videos and asked anyone with information about them to call police or the school district. They also advised parents to talk to their children about personal boundaries, sexual consent and limits, which will be discussed in the videos to be watched by students.
The videos could be a watershed for the Loudoun County school district, which received accolades in 2016 for the way it dealt with an embarrassing series of sexual assaults committed by two students during an earlier school year. In that case, two students were accused of secretly videotaping themselves having sex with a 15-year-old classmate in a bathroom in a Loudoun County high school bathroom. Both students confessed to and were convicted of the offense in adult court, but neither received an extended suspension from school. On Tuesday, Sheriff Mike Chapman said the school district was now doing the “right thing” with the videos. “I like to think that we’re taking this seriously,” he said.
While officials were careful to differentiate between this latest attack on a young girl and that sexual assault in 2016, they nonetheless called it a shocking case. “People don’t realize the depths to which these things can go,” said Sheriff Chapman. “One can go from zero to some very vicious acts.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, Superintendent John M. Mitchell said the district was “deeply concerned about the recent incidents and the seriousness of the allegations.” He added, “We are ensuring that appropriate personnel actions are taken.”
Girl, 13, raped by three teens at her middle school in Massachusetts
Loudoun school district changes policy after third student raped on campus
Third Massachusetts middle school student raped in bathroom last week