Skyline High School students protest Issaquah School District with walkout

Two lawsuits have been filed against the Issaquah School District on Oct. 25, 2018.

On Nov. 7, 2018, Skyline High School students came together to protest their school administrators. The lawsuits and students claimed that the Issaquah School District, and Skyline High School, carried out an inadequate process for handling sexual assault allegations against other students, chose to put football first, and moreover failed to protect students from their perpetrators. There is a reported lack of initiative of school faculty and administrators by those who were impacted from sexual assault, rape, and bullying.

The victim, who is now 21, states that the rape took place in 2014. “I was dating a boy who was on the football team, and he had a friend who was on the football team. I went over to my boyfriend’s house. I didn’t know his friend was there and they ambushed me.”

According to the Seattle Times report, “In October 2014, when one of the plaintiffs was 16, school-district employees refused to investigate her claim that she was sexually assaulted by two male students at one of boys’ homes because they were standout football players at Skyline.”

The offenders, who were both minors, pleaded guilty to assault with sexual motivation. They were transferred from the school just before playoffs. Skyline High School, which is a football powerhouse, had begun to lose games after the boys had been transferred, and the victims were blamed and targeted because of Skyline’s losses.

The victim was relentlessly bullied everywhere: at school, her home (causing her to move away), and especially on social media. Fellow students at the school used “#transfer” to get the victim to leave the school so the two boys could come back for playoffs.

In addition to being bullied on social media, KIRO 7 reported that “the lawsuit includes a tweet from someone who posted, ‘Funny how someone would think it’s better to ruin other people’s lives just to save their reputation.’ In a tweet, an assistant coach at Skyline High School responded, “Preach on Brother.”

According to the lawsuit, the offenders were granted to come back onto campus for athletic events once the victim had graduated.

Many students and parents feel their school district has failed them because Issaquah School District is lacking in their approach to handling sexual assaults, harassment, bullying, and the overall safety of their fellow students and children.

Students at the demonstration on Nov. 7 vocalized support for all students who have been victims of sexual assault and victims of the school’s alleged mismanagement of sexual assault claims.

According to the Issaquah Reporter, “More than 100 students lined 228th Avenue with large signs saying, ‘Don’t tell me how to dress! Tell them not to rape,’ ‘ISD…How would you like to be kept in class with your rapist?’ ‘Time’s up,’ and ‘Horrible day to be a Spartan.’”

Issaquah School District knew about the demonstration their students were going to be holding, and assisted in making sure students could demonstrate in a safe environment.

Issaquah School District’s statement in relation to the student demonstration stated, “Our administrative team at Skyline High School received word last week that a group of students wanted to exercise their voice on an important social issue that exists in our country. The administrative team reached out to those students and over the course of four different meetings worked with them so they would be able to have that voice and at the same time do it in a setting that was both safe and civil,” the release said. “Encouraging students to exercise their voice around social issues and collaborating with them so that they can do it in an environment where they feel safe will always be a priority in the Issaquah School District.”

According to KIRO, “About 80 students from different schools participated in the demonstration, which ended at 10 a.m. when classes started.”

Sexual assault, rape, and bullying is an ongoing issue. Students and parents are making their voices heard in response to the issues at Issaquah School District and other educational institutions. This is necessary in order to bring awareness and support in implementing a safe place where students are protected within their place of learning.