An elementary school in El Paso, Texas has begun to take action in the suspected rape of one of their special needs students, posting officers in the school and launching a full investigation.
“I assure our parents, students, employees, and community members that we are doing everything possible to investigate the matter and will not rest until the issue is resolved,” Socorro Independent School District Superintendent Jose Espinoza said in an online letter to parents on the district website.
But those words would ring more true, if the school had done something about the incident earlier. Instead, the district waited days to report the incident to police and that was only after the victim’s parents continually drove to the school demanding that an investigation take place.
Police reports say a “fat man without a mustache” (unfortunately, that is the only description they have) is suspected of sexually assaulted the 9-year-old autistic boy while he was at school in early February. When the mother suspected something, she confronted the administrators at the school and questioned the teachers. The principal told her she would start looking into it. The mother then took her child to a local hospital where a nurse confirmed that her son had been sexually assaulted.
The father, driving back to the school to see what the administrators had done, discovered to his horror that the school had simply dropped all pretense of an investigation. No police had been contacted, no teachers had been questioned by staff. When confronted, the principal said a report had not been filed because, “she had a very busy day and had not had time.”
Parents with students at the school are left shaken by the incident, but also at the response. It’s impossible to know what kind of crucial evidence may have been lost given the school’s indifference towards looking for it.
The school Superintendent is trying to allay fears and has scheduled a community meeting to discuss the school’s response:
“Any area for our continued improvement identified in the investigation will be immediately corrected, and if any employee was involved in wrongdoing we will pursue prosecution to the full extent of the law,” Espinoza said.