BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Some students at Niagara Wheatfield High School have been suspended for walking out of class Friday afternoon in protest to the way the school handled a student who eventually pled guilty to rape.
“It’s just a disgrace the way that they’re handling this altogether,” said a Niagara Wheatfield parent named Misty who said a high school guidance counselor called her Tuesday morning saying her daughter was being suspended for walking out of school in protest last Friday. “I had told him it was appalling. This was absurd.”
Her daughter refused the in school suspension, so she went home and served an out of school suspension today. Other students reportedly served in school suspensions today, or were told their suspensions would happen at a later time. “The walkout wouldn’t even have had to happen if the administration had done what they needed to do to support the victim in the first place,” said Misty.
The students were protesting the fact that a student accused of a rape last summer, when he was 17, was allowed to stay in school all year, even days after he pled guilty. The district says it only received official word of the guilty plea last Thursday, and then immediately removed him.
At the same time Niagara Wheatfield students walked out on Friday, about 70 students at neighboring Lewiston Porter Central Schools were allowed to march outside with signs reading ‘No Means No’.
The superintendent of Lewiston-Porter Central Schools, Paul Casseri, came out and joined the students in a discussion about the perception of women in society. “When you have young ladies, or any students come and talk that maturely and that astutely, to try to squash that and to try to quell that is just not right and our thinking as educators needs to change, and we have to respect student voice.”
The superintendent of Niagara Wheatfield Central Schools, and the president and vice president of the school board, did not return our call seeking comment on how many students were suspended. There is a Niagara Wheatfield Central School District Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m.