PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- A 14-year-old girl says she was sexually assaulted inside a bathroom at Shawnee Mission East High School, and parents are outraged they’re just now learning about the reported crime.
Prairie Village police are investigating the victim’s fellow students as suspects in the case, the Shawnee Mission School District says she reported that the assault happened in a boys’ bathroom near the gym.
FOX 4 is told the assault started out as horseplay, then one male student held the bathroom door closed, while the other boy sexually assaulted the girl.
“While inside, while one boy was outside holding the door shut, there was a sexual battery, some inappropriate and unwanted touching inside,” John Douglass, the district’s executive director of emergency services, said.
Concerned parents of Shawnee Mission East students say the district should have notified them about the assault that involved three students under the age of 15.
“It`s appalling. I mean, the district goes through all these things about bullying and behavior. If something happened to my daughter I would go in, and I would have found the kid, I would have dealt with the problem,” said parent Stratton Green.
Another parent echoed those concerns, saying they need the opportunity to discuss what reportedly happened with their kids.
“It is not appropriate and our community should not be standing for it, and it is something we should have a more open discussion and conversation about. By closing it off, you`re missing the opportunity to reiterate to these young people what is and is not appropriate,” said Laura Capello.
“Having something like that happen in our community, as parents who have a child who goes to this school, I should have been notified to open the conversation at home.”
The district cannot give details about the students involved, and it would not confirm whether the teenage boys suspected in the attack are still allowed in school.
“In this case, only three people were affected, it presented no other challenge or any opportunity for a problem to any other person, and as a result of all the privacy interests, there was nothing we could say, so it did not seem judicious to send out a blast notice that says something happened, but we cannot tell you what it is,” Douglass said.
The district says the investigation is ongoing and it is taking all the appropriate steps to handle the situation, including discipline for those involved. FOX 4 is told police are building a case to turn over to the district attorney as well.
"It is my hope that you will trust that this administration would never do anything to put the safety of our students at risk," principal John McKinney posted on Twitter. "You can trust that anything or anyone that jeopardizes the physical or emotional well-being of a student will be swiftly addressed and appropriate actions taken."
McKinney and other school administrators say they will be available Wednesday in the school auditorium to meet with students who have questions or concerns.
Many students say they plan to wear black on Wednesday in support of sexual assault victims.