Many people have been reaching out asking “What’s next?” Here is what’s next — show up at the next school board meeting tomorrow, March 2, 2022 at 6:30 PM at Jones Magnet Middle School, 1819 Nickerson Boulevard, Hampton, Virginia 23663. Get there early. Get a seat. Fill out a public comment form. BRING YOUR PARENTS. For those kids at Kecoughtan who told me their stories, I hope you’ll be willing to tell them again. To kids across HCS who participated in the walkout FOR THE RIGHT REASONS AND KEPT IT PEACEFUL, do it again. Speak your truth. Let the adults that are supposed to protect you in school know that they have failed.
There are some administrators who responded in the right way and are fostering dialogue i.e. Phoebus. Others, however, are tone deaf and are adding to the problem. A principal who got over the loud speaker at Hampton and said, “This is not a Hampton High problem,” I beg to differ. I am sure there are plenty of students that could fill you in on how they have been victims of sexual assault like the ones I spoke to at Kecoughtan and the ones who made videos speaking their truths. For the administrator at Bethel who told two female students speaking with each other about their own personal sexual assault battles, for you to say “Go ahead with that” makes you a hot, moronic mess. Students who participated in good faith were standing up for themselves and for my family and I will never be anything but grateful and glad that they were able to amplify their voices and stand up against sexual assault.
The battle continues — Hampton City Schools sent out a statement that is complete and total bullshit. You guys knew why you were there and were able to articulate it clearly. They then released a statement saying that what we said was “factually incorrect.” I have no problems with laying EVERYTHING out — Kellie Goral and Hampton City Schools have embarrassed themselves with this BULLSHIT statement telling your parents falsehoods to try to save their own asses. Here are some points to follow at the school board meeting, if you attend:
1. Why wasn’t the parent population at John Tyler (aka Mary S. Peake) NOT INFORMED of a series of VIOLENT SEXUAL ASSAULTS that happened ON SCHOOL PROPERTY?
2. Why was this student allowed back into school with no remedial actions?
3. Why wasn’t the teacher informed that she had a sexual predator (I know the words are harsh, but it doesn’t make them any less true) in their classroom?
4. Why aren’t elementary school bathrooms checked in regular intervals to prevent situations like what happened to Celeste? How was there opportunity for these assaults to occur?
5. Why is it that Hampton City Schools does not hold themselves to the same standard of conduct that students are held to? That standard being “From the point you leave home until the point you arrive BACK HOME, you’re under the jurisdiction of HCS
6. Why wasn’t there a Title IX Coordinator on staff when Celeste was assaulted?
7. Why did it take Hampton City Schools’ attempt to capitalize off of the shooting that happened at Heritage High for them to come up with a risk management plan? Do you only care about the press or do you actually care about the families you are supposed to serve?
8. Why isn’t there a sexual assault hotline for HCS?
9. What did Ann Stephens Cherry mean when she said “Speaking before the school board is a privilege, not a right?” The school board is an ELECTED OFFICE that is supposed to serve the people!
10. “Please note that per our Student’s Rights and Responsibilities handbook, students have the right of peaceful assembly in school facilities during school hours as long as there is no conflict with the school’s operation or activities.” (“the right of peaceful assembly in school facilities during school hours as long as there is no conflict with the school’s operation or activities.” WHAT?!?!?! They can “peacefully assemble” as long as HCS is NOT AFFECTED or has to hear their voices? Is that what I’m reading?!?!?)
11. Can sexual assault workshops be put in the current budget and future budgets?
12. Why is the data in the “Learning Climate” area of the “School Quality Report” for the district incomplete for elementary schools? (This data is public and allows parents and others the ability to see what the statistics are for their schools)
13. Why hasn’t Dr. Smith made a statement about school safety?
14. What does “Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes” actually mean when students are being sexually assaulted on school property?
15. Why did Dr Richard Mason LIE in a protective order affidavit that a judge threw out of court?
16. IF YOU CAN’T HELP, THEN WHY ARE YOU HERE?
These are just a few talking points but are absolutely not exhaustive. Please visit my Medium page as I have documented THE HELL out of my family’s entire ordeal with Hampton City Schools. And again, if you attend the school board meeting tomorrow, KEEP IT PEACEFUL. The building blocks have been started to cement a strong foundation — let’s press forward and BUILD THIS HOUSE for generations to come!