District Double Standard: Student Told to Wait to Report Assault

According to police reports from earlier this month, the Seattle school district may have a bit of a problem with double standards when it comes to reporting assaults. Police reports appear to indicate that faculty at one school deterred or prevented a student from calling police about an assault near her high school, while staff at another school called police and eagerly assisted in the investigation of an assault on a teacher.

In the first incident, A student reported she was getting off of a Metro bus in front of Nathan Hale High School on November 17th, a police report says, when a boy walked up behind her and hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground. A bystander helped her into the school, and she went to the nurse’s office where she was given information about concussion symptoms. The girl contacted the vice principal and school security who, the report says, did not call police about the assault. Furthermore, the report says, the vice principal and security staff told the girl that “if she wanted a police report she would have to do it after school.”

The girl called police from home after school and spoke with officers, who asked her if she had any idea why the boy attacked her. “She stated the day before she had thrown a piece of paper at him and it hit him in the back,” the report says. “She thought because they had known each other for so long he would know she was just teasing him.”  During the bus ride that morning, the girl told officers she heard her attacker telling some other boys that…”no one would get away with throwing paper at him.” The report says the girl also told officers it would be difficult for her to find witnesses to the incident because the boy who assaulted her “is the most popular guy in school.”

Although school staff apparently refused to contact police about an assault on a student, a few days earlier faculty at another high school called police and provided them with multiple copies of surveillance videos following an assault on a teacher at Rainier Beach High School.

On November 14th, staff at Rainier Beach called police and provided video surveillance footage of a student assaulting a teacher. The video, a police report says, shows a teenage boy shoving a female teacher into a wall after they had words about a hall pass.  The teacher “has worked with [the boy] regarding his anger management issues,” the report says. The boy fled the school after the incident, but police were able to contact him. The report does not indicate whether the boy was arrested.

In 2007, the Seattle PI wrote about a series of violent crimes at Seattle schools that the district failed to report to police.

A district spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.