Current and former students from almost a dozen campuses in Montgomery County, Maryland, have been posting their experiences on social media for the past week, prompting one student to push the administration to do more to keep abusers and their victims separated.
Hundreds of complaints have been posted on Instagram accounts since last week, forcing the district and Montgomery County police to open an investigation.
“I guess I wasn’t surprised,” Winston Churchill High School senior Phoebe Chambers said. “I was definitely appalled is 100 percent the right word, because this is definitely not acceptable.”
She knows some of the people who have spoken up, and after seeing the posts, she started a petition calling on the district to create a scheduling tool that will keep abusers and their victims from being in the same class together.
“Having to see that person in a classroom is incredibly traumatic,” she said.
Current policy allows students to change their schedules if they report being in the same class as their abuser, but Chambers wants to keep that from happening before students ever step foot in class.
“I don’t understand why we can’t have a flagging system or database that automatically sorts out alleged victims and perpetrators and places them in different classes,” she said.
“It’s clear that MCPS does support victims and survivors, it’s just we need to take the extra precautions,” she added.
More than 13,000 people have signed the petition.
“We have the technological capabilities to do this,” Chambers said. “It’s the right thing to do, and we have the community support, so I don’t see why MCPS would not want to implement this.”
She said her next move is to draw up a proposal and submit it to the Board of Education.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Jack Smith said, "We are deeply troubled by these allegations and we commend our students for coming forward to inform us of these alleged incidents. I want to assure you that all allegations involving our schools and/or students that come to our attention will be investigated."