More parents share frustrations over campus sex assault cases: 2 Investigates
In light of recent reports of sexual assaults at Palo Alto High School, 2 Investigates has heard from several Bay Area parents about similar cases involving their children in other school districts. Multiple parents expressed frustrations that they believe their district leaders aren’t keeping their kids safe.
Sean and Denise Lynch of Danville said they are dealing with a case of cyber bullying against their daughter. The couple claims a girl at San Ramon Valley High School secretly used her cell phone to record their 15-year-old daughter using the toilet in a locked stall at school. It happened during sports practice.
The video was then uploaded to social media last November. It wasn’t until the video was posted again in April that the family learned of what happened.
“If this had been done by the school janitor, a teacher, or say an upper class boy, would it be handled differently? I think so,” Sean Lynch said.
The family said Danville Police arrested the alleged perpetrator in April for multiple crimes from that incident, but the accused girl is still on campus, playing sports.
“There is no doubt in our mind that flagrant bias is being shown to a Caucasian upper class student athlete over an underclass, Asian, non-varsity athlete,” he said.
The family’s attorney has filed a restraining order and requested the girl be removed from campus and transferred to another school for their daughter’s safety.
“I don't know what to do,” Denise Lynch said. “I don't know how to help my daughter daily. She's in distress seeing this gal at school, this perpetrator.”
A Pacifica mother said her daughter is suffering too after being sexually assaulted by a boy at school in the Jefferson Union High School District.
She said a kiss allegedly led to non-consensual relations inside a bathroom in February. She believes the school isn’t protecting her daughter by keeping the boy on campus.
She claims when she asked administrators when the boy would get kicked out of school, she was told they are not allowed to discuss discipline about another student.
“They're very concerned about his education,” she said. “I'm not. He can get that in jail.”
2 Investigates wanted to know what policies the school districts have in place when it comes to campus crimes.
The superintendent of Jefferson Union High School District said any allegations of sexual assault are reported to police. The district may open its own administrative investigation. Depending on the results, the suspect could face suspension or expulsion.
A spokesman for the Pacifica Police Department confirmed they currently have an open investigation into the alleged sexual assault, but could not comment any further.
In the meantime, the alleged suspect and victim remain on campus because each has a right to an education and due process.
The girl’s mother disagrees with the law and said she believes the system is broken.
“It's in favor of the criminal right now and the violators,” she added. “It's impacting [my daughter’s] life greatly. She's on medication. She has psychiatrics, therapists, group therapy.”
In the East Bay, the Lynch family took their concerns to Tuesday’s school board meeting at the San Ramon Valley Unified School District where they spoke during public comment. The couple received support from the crowd of students and other parents.
SRVUSD Spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said any allegation that is potentially criminal in nature is investigated by police.
“If there’s a criminal element, that investigation takes the lead and our administrative investigation follows it,” Graswich said.
Graswich confirmed an incident regarding cyber bullying was investigated by police that led to “appropriate discipline,” but would not elaborate.
The discipline is being kept confidential under FERPA, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the records of minors.
The district would not comment on why the alleged cyber bully at San Ramon Valley High School was not transferred, but spoke in general terms about transfers.
The district said they only do involuntary student transfers in certain cases, including if “the principal determines the pupil’s presence causes a danger.”
“At what point, I want to ask the school district, are they going to do the right thing?” Denise Lynch said.
The Lynch family calls this a textbook case of cyber bullying.
“If our daughter had hurt herself or God forbid something worse would have happened, we'd have the candlelight vigil and we'd have all the community outcry and everyone would be asking, ‘What more could we have done?’ Now's the time to ask this because the next child this happens to may not have the support system we have at home,” Sean Lynch said.
Written by KTVU reporter Cristina Rendon