MARSHALL, MO (KMIZ)
Students at Marshall High School walked out of class today to express their frustration with Marshall Public Schools after a student was allegedly raped at an after-prom party.
The Marshall Police Department told ABC 17 News it opened an investigation into the incident Thursday. “We are concerned about the health and safety of parents and students.” Marshall police could not comment on the investigation, but said they respect the student’s right to protest.
In a written statement on the Marshall Public Schools website, “students protested the district’s inaction regarding an incident over the weekend, off school property.” The MPS said it had “no jurisdiction in these types of incidents, but takes the disruption of the educational process inside and outside the building seriously”.
The prom was held on April 30, and students at the protest said they no longer felt safe at school and demanded action from the school.
“We’re here to protest because if they’re not fighting for us, we have to fight for ourselves,” Payton Overly-Mcdowell said. Overly-Mcdowell is a Marshall High School student who said she wants the school to “recognize that this is wrong.”
The victim’s cousin said they appreciate the support the students and community have given his family. The cousin said the victim was expelled from school for disrupting class, while his alleged abusers can still attend school. He said they were seeking legal action against his attackers. The family has asked not to be identified at this time.
Students are also being expelled for participating in Thursday’s protest.
“Right now nobody knows anything, our children have been told they are being expelled,” said Thomas Steward, the father of a student.
Steward said they were called to pick up their daughter from school yesterday because she ‘was disruptive and had to go’.
Steward said he and his wife tried to contact the school to find out if their daughter had been suspended, expelled or when she could return to school.
“I couldn’t get them to answer me, I couldn’t even get them to take my phone call.” Steward said he called the school four times today and his wife called 5-6 times.
ABC 17 News visited the Marshall Public Schools office, but they declined to comment.