July 25, 2024


Art Shines Through

Charter Arts high school shut for day after student protest about sexual assault allegations

The Lehigh Valley Constitution High University for the Arts in Bethlehem was shut Wednesday, the day soon after a pupil protest, according to a letter to parents from Superintendent and CEO Carise Comstock.

The faculty at 321 E. Third St. was “made informed of a student-generated doc that was distributed (Monday) evening to some members of the school local community,” the letter states.

The doc dealt in part with sexual assaults that happened in school and were being described to administrators but did not consequence in actions towards the perpetrators, a university student who was at the sit-in told lehighvalleylive.com

The university did not element the contents of the document, other than to say the university normally takes “all allegations of discrimination, bullying, sexual assault and/or harassment critically.” The letter states the college has “procedures and guidelines” to report these types of incidents and pupils are inspired to use those people requirements to “ensure the suitable focus and reaction is afforded just about every report.”

On Tuesday, even though the “administration was operating to investigate the origins of this doc and recognize its contents, learners organized a tranquil sit-in that took position in our initially-ground freeway in the course of ninth period”, the letter states.

Pupils “shared their tales and voices” with directors and instructors and ”we listened”, the letter states.

With dismissal nearing and behavior ”escalating”, administrators contacted metropolis law enforcement, the letter states. Students were excused at 3 p.m. and “additional university student conflicts” ended up handled by law enforcement, the letter states.

A few juveniles at the sit-in gained nontraffic citations involving disorderly conduct, law enforcement mentioned. Law enforcement remained till 4:15 p.m. to observe dismissal, the letter states.

A university student who attended the sit-in explained students have been worried about the lack of action versus people accused of sexual assault and upset that victims ended up in faculty with them.

“They were being expecting that the school would tell the law enforcement,” the college student stated, adding none of the learners involved experienced listened to from police soon after the sexual assault was documented to administrators.

A doc was established to get a sense of how a lot of conditions may well have long gone unreported to police, the university student said.

“It’s been likely on for a whilst a lot of men and women weren’t conversing about it,” the student explained. The document was “a chain response of 1 human being speaking about their knowledge to various men and women chatting about the encounters. It just blew up.”

The doc “was taken down” for a couple of hrs by the administration and students became so offended that they quickly arranged the sit-in, the college student said. 50 % to 3-quarters of the student entire body attended, the pupil explained.

The students strategy to give the administration until eventually April to develop policies for a trouble that dates again yrs, the college student mentioned.

The administration’s response to the sit-in was good, the university student stated. The discussion was very good for the 1st two and a 50 % hours, the scholar additional.

“They did declare that they would be hoping to employ new guidelines as before long as probable,” the pupil mentioned.

In close proximity to dismissal, a university student uttered a racial epithet and other pupils grew to become actual physical toward that individual, the scholar who spoke to lehighvalleylive.com claimed. Police turned concerned and learners appeared to be taken into custody, the student explained.

They didn’t believe any person was hurt.

The student mentioned directors would not very likely get disciplinary motion against the sit-in individuals.

“Not at all,” they stated. “In no way, shape or kind did the administration say ‘you men are in issues.’”

The closure on Wednesday was to allow administrators time to “take measures to deal with today’s events”, the letter written Tuesday states.

Comstock issued this statement Wednesday afternoon:

“We felt it was very best for our faculty community to near (Wednesday) so that our administration and employees could evaluate the collection of activities that occurred yesterday and go over actionable designs to move ahead.

“Any report of sexual assault that is submitted through our approach is totally investigated from a Title IX perspective and the pupil code of perform.  When our pupils share data with us with regards to alleged legal activity, we report that to the ideal authorities, such as the regional law enforcement office and Little ones and Youth Solutions.  Like each individual other general public faculty, we are bound by the legislation, which gives all pupils and personnel their due procedure and a degree of privacy.

“We denounce all expressions of discrimination, racism, intolerance, and violence in our university community.”

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Tony Rhodin can be reached at [email protected].