Shawnee Mission North students protesting school’s response to multiple alleged sexual assaults

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Students at one Kansas City metro high school said they’ve had enough.

Crowds of students poured into the street outside Shawnee Mission North High School on Monday morning, protesting a series of alleged sexual assaults.

Organizers of the student walkout, which included as many as 200 students, complain school leaders aren’t doing enough to stop this problem.

“No means no! No means no!” was one boisterous chant students bellowed. Their voices were angry and loud because they complain school leaders aren’t listening.

“You are not alone. This happens every single day,” one protestor told a large crowd of students.

SMN students told reporters some assaults have happened on school grounds, and others have involved students at other locations. Monday’s walkout was called for after one student complained to school leaders about a recent assault, and according to two protestors, that student was told to “get over it.”

“I know for a certainty this has been going on since I was a freshman,” Vaughn Wheat, an organizer of Monday’s walkout, said. “I think nine out of ten people I know have been sexually assaulted, mostly by someone they’re still going to school with.”

“We’re sick and we’re tired. We don’t feel safe at our schools. This is not OK.  We’re tired. This is why we organized this walkout,” Niyya Negatu, another protestor and student, said.

School district administrators said they learned about one assault case at the school on Monday morning.

Overland Park Police made FOX4 aware of one report that was taken Monday morning at the school regarding a sexual assault. David A. Smith, a spokesperson for Shawnee Mission School District, said the hope is to establish positive relationships between teachers and students so teenagers are comfortable seeking help with assaults.

“I know the building feels like it’s been responsive when things have been brought to their attention, but there’s a disconnect, so we need to sit down and see what that is,” Smith said.

A spokesperson for Overland Park Police said their officers haven’t taken a large number of sexual assault reports at this school. Smith said students may be incorrect and discipline may have been delivered in a complaint against a student, even though that decision isn’t made public.

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