Family Reports Sexual Abuse at DC School Where Girl Was Found Dead

What to Know

  • Twelve-year-old Stormiyah Denson-Jackson died of an apparent suicide Jan. 23 at her boarding school in D.C.
  • Her mother says her classmates bullied her.
  • Family members of other students say bullying at the school is widespread. School officials said safety is their top concern.

At the D.C. boarding school where a 12-year-old girl was found dead this week of an apparent suicide, the mother of another student says her son was sexually abused.

Mami Buxton told News4 her son was abused this month by a male classmate at The SEED Public Charter School of Washington (SEED DC). She filed a police report and told school officials, but she said they didn't do anything. 

"My son has been a victim of bullying since sixth grade at SEED Public Charter School," Buxton said.

"On Jan. 10, he was sexually assaulted by another student and basically that situation was treated just like all other bullying incidents. Like it was a normal thing. Like it was no big deal," she said.

Buxton removed her son, an eighth-grader, from the school.

Another student, seventh-grader Stormiyah Denson-Jackson, was found dead at the school Tuesday. Her devastated mother said she had been bullied. 

Denson-Jackson won awards in modeling competitions and was looking forward to going to college, her mother, Pat Denson, said. 

But Denson-Jackson's classmates bullied her, her mother said. 

"She did tell me that a lot of kids would be bullying her, picking on her. And when she tried to tell the staff, they wouldn't do nothing about it," Denson said. "But when she reacted, they put her as the bully."  

D.C. police responded to the school on the 4300 block of C Street SE, near East Capitol Street, for a report of an unconscious person. Denson-Jackson was found dead in her dorm room. 

Denson wept as she spoke about her daughter. 

"I sent my baby there to learn, not to die," she said. "I just can't understand it."

The child's mother questioned the school's actions. 

"They supposed to look in the room and look on the bed to make sure that that child is in her space, every hour on the hour. That's what's supposed to be done. But it wasn't done. My child would be still here," Denson said. "I trusted them people with my child." 

A school spokeswoman said the security and safety of students are the school's top priorities. She declined to speak about individual students. 

Multiple people who have family members at the school told News4 bullying is a widespread problem there. 

Kimberly Brent said her grandson was bullied and beaten up there last month.

"He had a knot in his forehead, a knot in the back of his head. He had a concussion," she said. "Three young men in his eighth-grade dorm jumped him."

Another woman, who asked News4 to withhold her name, said her daughter was victimized.

"She has been bullied on more than one occasion," she said. "When told about the situation, nobody did nothing about it."

Parents expressed outrage at a meeting Thursday night with school officials, some leaving with their kids' belongings in boxes and containers.

"I can understand why the emotions are high because they started off saying a whole bunch of nothing. 
That the children’s safety is their priority. But it’s not."

"I can understand why the emotions are high because they started off saying a whole bunch of nothing. That the children’s safety is their priority. But it’s not," Buxton said outside the meeting.

Opened in 1998, SEED DC is a public, college-preparatory boarding school that serves 370 students in grades six through 12. Ninety-one percent of its graduates have enrolled in college, and 80 percent are first-generation college students, the school's website says.

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting 'Home' to 741741. For a long list of mental health resources, see News4's ongoing Changing Minds coverage

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