Enraged parents of a Texas first-grader allege their daughter was forced to perform a sex act on another kid in the classroom. At the same time, other students watched on — as one videotaped the terrible attack on a school-issued iPad.
On Friday, around 200 enraged parents protested in front of the Plainview Independent School District’s administration buildings. Chanting, “Be their voice!” as they expressed the school’s inadequate response to the alleged attack.
The April 19 event at Plainview South Elementary only came to light when a parent circulated the story on social media, the Plainview Herald said.
The district finally acknowledged the assault a week after facing widespread public outcry.
Heather Gonzales, a cousin of the 6-year-old girl who was attacked, noticed a change in the little girl’s behavior after the traumatic incident.
“She’s in distress. She’s like, ‘My stomach hurts. “All I want to do is lay down,” Gonzales told KCBD. “You can tell something’s wrong with her. So, they said, ‘What’s going on? What happened?'”
The young girl informed her family that a boy had made out with her in the school lunch line.
She then said that a week before that event, she was taken beneath a desk and coerced to perform a sex act on a male student.
The subsequent incident was captured by a fellow student using an iPad provided by the school.
The footage purportedly showed the little child attempting to fend off her assailant from below the desk.
According to Gonzales, she recounted, “She said she was hitting him with the poetry book,” and when Gonzales inquired about the duration of the incident, her cousin replied, “until they let me go.”
The day following the incident, students viewed the assault video until the teacher intervened, taking possession of the iPad a student had locked. The teacher then sent the device to the IT department to unlock it.
According to the Plainview Herald, the teacher recognized what had occurred.
Gonzalez strongly criticized the district for withholding information regarding the assault.
“They kept saying ‘No comment. I can’t tell you. No comment,'” Gonzales told KCBD. “So, you’re saying that abuse was ongoing for a week and a half, and these children were still sitting at the same desks? My family member is still placed at a desk surrounded by the same boys, constantly exposed to her abusers day after day.”
Gonzales expressed concern that the district would ignore the incident during the demonstration on Friday.
People went from nearby villages to march alongside the Plainview community and demanded responsibility from authorities on Friday, which was the second demonstration conducted since the tragedy.
Protesters called for the termination of South Elementary Principal Jennifer Hughey and Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.
As per the Plainview Herald, the teacher implicated in the incident, who reportedly had an obstructed view from their location in the classroom, has been placed on administrative leave.
The victim’s family claims district officials told them there was nothing to see and that they have still not been shown the video.
The family has subsequently engaged an attorney, Gonzales said.
The video was discovered, a report was filed, and CPS was contacted, according to the superintendent of Plainview.
The following week, a state detective began working on the matter, according to KCBD.
“We aim to establish a path forward in collaboration with them,” expressed Sanchez. “Our focus is undoubtedly on the well-being of the young individuals, finding ways to support their healing process and facilitate their progress going forward.”
Gonzales claimed she has heard from numerous people who have had similar encounters with the school district since the incident.
This is not the first occasion where Sanchez has faced criticism and anger regarding his approach towards sexual assault.
Sanchez took on his role at the Plainview Independent School District in 2018, following his tenure as the Tucson Unified School District leader. During his time there, he gained significant attention when a student within the district came forward and reported being sexually abused by her teacher. School officials, however, waited for six days before notifying the police, which resulted in widespread media coverage.
According to a report from KCBD in 2018, Sanchez stepped down from his position four months after the incident.
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Gonzales intends to share the accounts she has been told about similar incidents during the upcoming school board meeting scheduled for May 18.