Hundreds of Norman High School students and parents lined the streets in Norman Monday protesting the school administration’s response to three rape allegations. Protest organizers demanded school officials implement anti-bullying policies to protect future victims.
The group YES ALL DAUGHTERS, started by Norman High School sophomore Danielle Brown, took to social media last week to encourage participation in the day-long protest outside Norman High School. Students walked out of class at 9:20 a.m. Monday in support of the victims. Organizer Stacey Wright, Brown’s aunt, says multiple students bullied the victims after they returned to school.
“It’s put these girls lives on hold. They tried to come back to school after being victims of a horrific crime, and the school failed to protect them,” Wright said.
In a letter to parents and guardians released Sunday, Norman Public Schools superintendent Joe Siano said a task force is working to ensure “quick, effective responses” to sexual assault and any related bullying. Norman Public Schools spokeswoman Shelly Hickman says administrators learned in September about an alleged sexual assault video and immediately suspended the student.
A Norman High sophomore close to one of the girls alleging she was assaulted says the administration should’ve provided services to the victims.
“They’ve definitely helped, and maybe they've done as much as they can,” she said. “But [the school] should really do something with the school programs to really help educate on the rape victims and start groups for victims and people who have to deal with that in their family.”
Students say the girls involved in the alleged assaults have faced verbal and physical bullying. A protest sign from the rally quoted a faculty member telling a victim to “just focus on your school work and ignore those people.”
YES ALL DAUGHTERS presented the Norman High School’s principal Scott Beck with a list of seven demands, including hiring a full-time victims’ advocate for the school and prioritizing sexual assault, sexual harassment and bullying prevention education for students and faculty.