Signs posted in a high school's bathrooms accuse students of sexual assault

Last week, the names of five boys who go to Grant High School were anonymously posted on signs in the school bathroom...

Posted: May 1, 2018 4:38 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 4:38 PM

Last week, the names of five boys who go to Grant High School were anonymously posted on signs in the school bathrooms accusing them of sexual assault.

The signs say "BEWARE" above the students' names, and encourage classmates to add more names to the list of "sexual predators in the hallways."

FOX 12 obtained a photo of the sign circulating on social media from a student, who did not want to be named.

Portland Public Schools Director of Strategic Communications and Outreach Harry Esteve said the incident is concerning.

Parents received an email from Grant administrators Friday saying in part, "These signs – singling out members of our community – make many students, not just those listed, feel unsafe at school."

"I feel like the fact that it's on a list is important, but it's also easy to attack people and if it's possibly not true it could be damaging to a person," said one student who did not want to be named.

All the students FOX 12 spoke with said they sympathize with their classmates who posted the signs. However, they said their method of speaking out could have been different.

"I think that if the school provided more avenues for people to file a complaint, or to be anonymous and say that something had happened and provide evidence for an accusation, it would've been better than simply the students taking it on themselves," said another student.

The PPS backlash dates back a few years ago, when the district was accused by students of not doing enough to investigate their sexual harassment and assault allegations.

From student testimony at a November 24, 2015 Portland Public Schools Board of Education regular meeting, Annabelle Schwartz said this: "As a survivor myself, I have heard the horror stories of women whose local police departments did not take their rape seriously. What surprised me is this school did not seem interested either. When we have met with administrators, they have told us that everyone has a right to public school even if that meant pushing these survivors out."

Last year, PPS revised its sexual harassment policy, expanding the definition of sexual harassment and adding more detail to how the district responds to sexual harassment and violence between students.

Of this most recent incident, school administrators said students can always contact an administrator or complete a "Safe Oregon Report" on safeoregon.com. If it happened outside of school, students can contact police.

"It's good that there is something being said about situations like these," a student told FOX 12.

Parents told FOX 12 off camera Monday that the allegations are concerning, and they want their children to feel safe at school.

Esteve said the parents of the five boys on this sign have been spoken with.

Though the signs are down now, he said the allegations are still being investigated.

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