Administration, we demand a change

It happens in the halls.

It happens in the classroom.

It happens at school-sponsored events.

It happens while we’re walking home with your very own students.

Among Shorewood students, a silent alliance has formed – those of us consistently denied by administration regarding cases of sexual assault. But it has never been by choice. We are a fragile network, connected by a collective rage against the system that has failed our friends, our peers, ourselves. 

It’s not that we don’t come forward with our stories. It is a commendable task already to share such a deeply personal experience. But as reports are taken to administration and filed (or so we are told), that’s when the conveyor belt of justice seems to stop. Our administration promises victims regular updates on their situations, but after months of waiting sans communication, it doesn’t seem to be a real priority for them at all. 

Our handbook outlines strict rules and punishments regarding sexual assault in the district, ranging from multiple-day suspension to permanent expulsion. But more often than not, all perpetrators receive from the school is a harsh talking-to; they are then let off the hook without any real consequences. Meanwhile, victims are left wondering if their stories were worth sharing in the first place, when no real change ever comes about. 

An anonymous student who has experienced assault at Shorewood High School shared their thoughts on this. 

“I believe the administration talked to [my aggressor], but I’m not sure any action was taken after that,” They said. “I requested not to be put in any classes with him, but they told me that there were ‘no guarantees’. I wanted them to do something more … I wanted them to keep me safe. I was never assured that.” 

This begs an onslaught of questions to say the least. Why should the burden be on the victim to ask for the bare minimum in the first place – a simple request to be separated from their assaulter? And if we cannot accommodate to suit these needs, what message does that send? Can we truly say with integrity that we uphold a “tradition of excellence” while vigorously scrubbing these stains from our oh-so-pristine record? 

In times of inaction from administration, students must often take the cultivation of hope into their own hands. Our correspondent offers a glimmer of hope among all the uncertainty.

“I hope other people who have had similar experiences know that they are not being dramatic when they talk about what happened, and that it wasn’t [their] fault.”

A sea of students ripples with uncertainty, wondering ‘who’s next?’

A district stays dangerously silent.

It may not start with them, but it can certainly end so.

While the solution to all this remains debated, one thing is clear – the administration must break their harmful silence about sexual assault.