District says it is addressing assault allegations
Unified School District Superintendent Brad Reed said school officials are dealing with recent allegations of sexual battery against Great Bend High School swim team members.
“We are aware of the situation,” Reed said. “We’ve taken the appropriate steps and followed School Board policy.”
But, “beyond that, because of student privacy issues, we have not comment.” the Great Bend Tribune looked up the related policies on the Unified School District 428 website.
The USD 428 Student Handbook reads:
In an effort to promote and ensure a safe, effective educational operation, the following will not be allowed at Great Bend High School. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive:
• Throwing snowballs
• Possession or shooting of fireworks
• Running in halls
• Offensive language
Verbal/Physical Assault on a School Employee, Student, or Visitor A student shall not intentionally cause or attempt to cause physical injury or to behave verbally in such a way that could reasonably injure or threaten a school employee, student, or visitor:
1. on the school grounds during, before, or after school hours;
2. on the school grounds at any other time when the school is being used
by any school personnel or school group; or
3. off the school grounds at a school activity, function, or event.
Neither self-defense nor action undertaken on the reasonable belief that it was necessary to protect some other person is to be considered an intentional act under this rule. Violation of this provision may result in suspension or expulsion.
The district’s anti-bullying policy reads:
The Board of Education prohibits bullying in any form either by any student, staff member, or parent toward a student or by a student, staff member, or parent toward a staff member on or while using school property, in a school vehicle, or at a school-sponsored activity or event. For the purposes of this policy, the term “bullying” shall have the meaning scribed to it in Kansas law.
The administration shall propose and the board shall review and approve a plan to address bullying as addressed herein. The plan shall include provisions for the training and education of staff members and students and shall include appropriate community involvement as approved by the board.
Students who have bullied others in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and/or expulsion. If appropriate, students who violate the bullying prohibition shall be reported to local law enforcement.
What the KSHSAA says
At the state level, such incidents are not investigated by the Kansas State High School Activities Association, said KSHSAA Executive Director Gary Musselman. The investigation is the responsibility of local school officials, and if necessary, law enforcement.
However, a student must be deemed a bona fide student in good standing to participated in KSHSAA-sponsored events, such as state tournaments or meets, he said. He referred to Rule 14 of the KSHSAA Handbook.
Section l: General Regulations (apply to grades 7-12)
Art. 1: In order to be eligible for participation, the student must be a bona fide undergraduate member of that school and in good standing. In order to participate in practice, the student must be a bona fide undergraduate of that school and one who is eligible or has the possibility of eligibility.
Art. 2: A student who is under penalty of suspension or whose character or conduct brings discredit to the school or to the student, as determined by the principal, is not in good standing and is ineligible for a period of time as specified by the principal.
Musselman said school districts who take part in KSHSAA activities sign off on these rules and agree to follow them. Therefore,if a student is determined to be in violation of the guidelines, he or she should not be participating in KSHSAA events.
Editor’s note: Some definitions used in this story are graphic in nature. Reader discretion is suggested
With reports of Great Bend High School boy swimmers allegedly being sexually battered on a school bus trip, Family Crisis Center Executive Director Laura Patzner said its time for the community to stand behind those assaulted and stand against the “rape culture.”
Sadly, “it’s more common than you think,” Patzner said of boys being battered sexually. It will happen to one in six boys before they turn 18.
“The community has to take a look at the culture we’ve created here,” she said. “Why is it OK for something like this to happen? What do we as Great Bend accept.”
Frequent portrayals of sexual violence only desensitize society into accepting such behavior, she said.
“We have to have to start having that conversation and I hope we will,” Patzner said. “This has opened some eyes. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
“The community needs to stand with victims,” she said. “Great Bend should be a safe place.”
As for victims, whether they are male or female, Patzner said the trauma they experienced will be somewhat the same. They will start to question themselves and their ability to identify trustworthy people, start to not trust their ability to make good decisions.
“It takes a toll,” she said. “It affects their minds, their spirituality, it affects who they are.”
These impacts are lasting.
It is critical for the victims to have access to support, both from professionals who know the system and understand what they are going through, and from family, friends and the community.
Although more common in girls, it may be easier for girls to report such attacks and find the support they need. Boys are often questioned and ridiculed by peers and others.
By the numbers
In the United States, an estimated 19.3 percent of women and 1.7 percent of men have been raped during their lifetimes, according to the Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey done in 2011. An estimated 43.9 percent of women and 23.4 percent of men experienced other forms of sexual violence during their lifetimes,
In 2014, Kansas Bureau of Investigation compiled the following numbers of sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement: under 10 years old, 64 females and eight males; 10 to 14 years old:, 163 females and six males; and 15 to 19 years old, 187 females and four males.
Each year, Patzner said the center typically works with somewhere between eight and 10 male sexual assault survivors and about 15-20 secondary victims, meaning family or friends of primary sexual assault survivors – both male and female. This varies from year to year.
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.
Sexual battery may be defined as non-consensual touching of the intimate parts of another. At least in Florida, “Sexual battery means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.”