Cleveland Hts. Student Accused of Rape at School

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CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio --

Police are investigating allegations of rape inside a local high school. On Wednesday, a 16-year-old girl reported that she had been raped in a boy's bathroom by a 19-year-old student at Cleveland Heights High School.

"It's kind of weird how it would get to that point where someone's getting raped in the bathroom. For me, as a girl, it's uncomfortable," said student Ameerah Roberts.

"They had a phone call about it, and they didn't really release a lot of information about it, it's more like rumors around," said student Kadar Husain.

Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson says the sexual assault happened in a restroom near underground hallway tunnels in the school.

"It's unusual, of course. It's in the middle of the school day, the incident occurred and there's kids in that area. I mean, back and forth to class and to have this occur like that, yeah, it's unusual," Robertson said.

This is the second sexual assault reported to Cleveland Heights school officials in the past month, although a school spokeswoman says in the first incident no charges were ever filed.

Also last week, a 15-year-old was arrested for bringing an unloaded gun to school.

"I thought it was pretty safe, but that's kind of weird that it happened," said student Jeremy Johnson.

"It can happen to anybody ... usually I feel safe," said student Payton Meeks.

"I kind of don't feel safe because it kind of makes me feel like I have to put my guard up more, so pretty much, I'm kind of shocked at the same time," said student Emerald Williams.

Principal James Reed sent out a letter to parents. (Read the entire letter below this story)

It reads, in part, "these incidents are unacceptable and we are taking steps to prevent them from happening again. We are increasing the patrolling of our building by the Cleveland Heights police officers and our security monitors."

"If you do your work and hang out with the right people, you'll be OK," said student Lucia Rose.

"As the weather warms up, we put more officers in the school surroundings, all the schools, high school, middle school, and the other schools in the city," Chief Robertson said.

The teen accused of the sexual assault is out of jail, but the case has not yet gone to a grand jury.

According to the principal, the alleged victim is getting help from social workers.

*Read Principal James Reed's letter below:

Dear Parent,

 It's with sadness and regret I write to inform you that despite our commitment to school safety, two alarming incidents happened at the high school this week:  a student brought an unloaded firearm to school, and a student reported she was sexually assaulted by another student in one of the high school bathrooms. This is the second time a student reported a sexual assault in the past month. The school spokesperson tells FOX 8 no charges were filed in that incident.

This is unacceptable. Your children’s educations and safety are our number one priority and we are increasing our efforts to ensure the safety of every one of our students.

Students saw the student with a firearm and reported it to a school official. Our staff quickly secured the student and the unloaded firearm.  The school called the police, who arrested the student. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and is no longer at school.

We are proud of our students for informing staff of the existence of a firearm in school and of the quick action taken by staff to secure the safety of all students and staff in the building.   

The victim of the alleged sexual assault is at home with her family, and our social workers are providing them with the support they need. Police took the other student involved into custody.

These incidents are unacceptable and we are taking steps to prevent them from happening again. We are increasing the patrolling of our building by the Cleveland Heights police officers and our security monitors. Teachers will pay closer attention to students’ whereabouts and make sure all students are where they’re supposed to be during the school day, and we’ve reminded students that if they see anything out of the ordinary, to immediately report it to a teacher.

We are also making sure students understand the severity of these situations. Currently, we are working with the District to put in place a plan to educate students about sexual assault and safety and help them avoid dangerous decisions. We will keep you informed of our efforts.

In the meantime, we encourage you to talk with your child about this week’s events. Our social workers are also available to talk during the school day to talk.

Again, I can’t stress enough that your children’s safety and educations are our number one priority, and this weeks events are unacceptable. We are doing everything possible to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment that all of our students deserve. If you would like to talk further about the events this week, my staff and I are available to answer your questions. We may be reached at 216.371.7131.

Sincerely,

James Reed, Cleveland Heights High

Principal

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