According to a new report, the Alexandria, Virginia, school district and school board did not inform parents in the school district regarding a reported violent sexual assault that left the victim in the hospital.
“Alexandria police have now directly confirmed to Independent Women’s Forum via email that the police arrested a 14-year-old suspect in early December for ‘aggravated sexua[l] battery, rape, and forcible sodomy’ in connection with the October incident at Minnie Howard campus,” Inez Stepman of National Review reported on Friday, adding that a series of emails were sent vis-à-vis the incident between school-board members, the superintendent, the mayor, and Alexandria police. “Parents, however, were largely left in the dark,” National Review noted.
Molly Kaiman, an Alexandria City Public Schools parent, who said she felt “misled, angry, [and] scared,” charged, “Parents had zero communication regarding this incident. This crime should scare parents. If parents knew what had happened, parents could have necessary talks with their children and pressure the school to increase safety.”
The only public notification of the reported assault came at a joint board-council hearing, at which it was mentioned that “a potential sexual assault … is being investigated.”
“On October 6, 2021, ACPS superintendent Gregory Hutchings sent an email to the nine-member ACPS school board with the subject ‘Potential Sexual Assault,’” National Review reported. “The body of the email contained few details but did say … ‘FYI there is a potential sexual assault of a student by other students this afternoon at MH. The student has been taken to the hospital and APD is working through the investigation. No more details at this time.’”
Mayor Justin Wilson and all city councilors were reportedly notified. But days later a parent emailed Hutchings, then-acting Alexandria City police chief Don Hayes, and the mayor to confirm the reported sexual assault and other alleged violent incidents in the school district.
The district and school-board officials reportedly did not respond, but Hayes confirmed that a sexual assault at the school was under investigation.
Stepman wrote, “The behavior of ACPS and the city council goes far beyond the city of Alexandria. The secrecy surrounding serious crimes at Virginia schools risks becoming systematized. … In November 2021, a bill was introduced to reverse the earlier law and to require reporting of serious misdemeanor crimes. Additionally, the new law requires that parents be notified of such crimes in their children’s schools and be informed of their rights to press charges through the justice system. That bill has passed both houses of the Virginia legislature and is awaiting signature from the governor.”
This is not the first episode in Virginia where a reported sexual assault has created headlines; last October, The Daily Wire’s investigative reporter Luke Rosiak broke the story that the Loudoun County school board had lied about a rape in a girls’ bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt, a story that affected the gubernatorial election.