DETROIT (WXYZ) — A mom is raising her voice asking for action. She says a little boy has repeatedly inappropriately touched classmates in recent weeks and now it has happened to her daughter.
She decided to protest outside the school until she is told what their school is doing to address this.
“You all let my daughter think that this is okay,” the mom said.
This mom of a 6-year-old student at the National Heritage Academy’s Detroit Merit Academy says the school needs to think about how its processes can teach dangerous and damaging lessons.
7 Action News is not reporting her name to protect the privacy of her 6-year-old daughter. The mom has numerous problems with how the school handled her daughter’s complaint on Nov. 21 that a 6-year-old classmate groped her.
One problem was the amount of time it took for the school to notify her.
“It happened at 11 a.m. I got the call at 2:30 (a.m.),” the mom said.
Another problem is her daughter was pulled out of class with the boy.
“You showed my daughter that that is okay. You let her continue to let the little boy color right next to her,” the mom said.
When she got there, she said her daughter was visibly upset. Another problem is she learned this wasn’t an isolated incident for her daughter or other students in recent weeks.
“She said, 'Mom, I am just tired of him touching me down there,'” she said.
She thought the other child would be suspended and she would have time to work out a safety plan. Instead the next day, the 6-year-old was in class.
The school sent a letter home to parents saying in part, “The school leadership team became aware of a student inappropriately poking three students. We removed that student from the classroom and investigated the situation thoroughly.”
Civil rights attorney Deb Gordon said, “What the law says is the conduct must be stopped by the school.”
Gordon says state law says that schools have to report inappropriate touching to Children's Protective Services, and federal and state law requires schools take action to make harassment stop. If it has happened repeatedly to multiple students, there is a problem. She says to ensure there is a pathway to accountability, it is important parents communicate about sexual assault or harassment and discrimination issues in writing.
“You want to create a written record. Phone calls are not very effective and neither are texts. If your child is being mistreated, be it based on gender, race or anything else, get it in writing as soon as possible,” she advised.
She says you don’t have the right to know about how the other student is disciplined, but you can ask for the plan to keep your child safe.
“And ask that you be responded to immediately. You don’t want your child in the building if the problem has not been dealt with in an appropriate way to ensure your child’s safety, well-being and ability to get an education,” Gordon said.
This mom says she is waiting for a response from the school to her emails.
“Everyone in schools, they need to fight for the children,” she said.
Detroit police have interviewed the little girl and they are investigating.
National Heritage Academies did not answer questions 7 Action News asked, but did provide a statement saying:
”While I am limited in the details I can share due to student privacy rights, what I can share is that our scholars’ well-being remains a priority. We take all incidences of student misconduct seriously, which is why school leadership immediately addressed this situation.”