BOURBONNAIS – The Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School administration is beginning to shed light on claims of sexual harassment to the community after students openly protested outside the school Friday.
In an unsigned letter dated September 17th, 2021 to parents and community members issued on the school’s letterhead, BBCHS claims the incident was not “swept under the rug” and investigated with procedures put in place by the school.
It came hours after a petition posted to Change.org received over 2,700 signatures. As of Saturday afternoon, that number has climbed to nearly 4,000 people.
Just over 2,000 students attend the school.
“When the learning of others is impeded or a disruption of the education process results due to the protests, that is when administrators will step in and address those protesting.” The school said, defending actions Friday in restricting fan attendance to the evening’s Football matchup. “We need our school community to understand that this was not “swept under the rug.””
The school shed light on multiple claims in the letter involving multiple reports of possible harassment issues at the school. Details of both have been limited.
“Every claim, official and unofficial, is taken extremely seriously and investigated as quickly and thoroughly as possible.” BBCHS’s letter reads.
You can read the full statement issued Friday below.
BBCHS Parents, Guardians, Students and Community,
Two weeks ago there was a report of sexual harassment made by a student. This claim was made to an assistant principle. The assistant principle then worked closely with administrators to investigate. In this case, we spoke to every party involved, as well as witnesses to the situation. After a full review and an official venting process, the decision was made that the incident that took place was not of sexual harassment nature. We used our official student handbook as well as the guidance from Bradley PD to make this decision. We need our school community to understand that this was not “swept under the rug.” Due to confidentiality reasons, we are not legally permitted to share specific details about this case. It is our hope that our community recognizes and trusts our procedures in place to keep all students safe.
Related to the recent protests by students, the district is proud of our students for speaking up for what they believe in and exercising their first amendment right of freedom of speech. There are defined ways to appropriately protest while on school grounds and especially within the educational environment. When the learning of others is impeded or a disruption of the education process results due to the protests, that is when administrators will step in and address those protesting.
The district encourages students and their parents who have experienced sexual harassment at school to report this to their counselor, assistant principle, or any other trusted adult within our building. These reports are always taken seriously, fully, investigated, and the district policy against sexual harassment will be followed. Sexual harassment and sexual assault do not have a place at BBCHS.
Second, earlier this week, a student unofficially accused one of our male staff members of entering a female bathroom. No official statement has been made by the student at this time. We are currently collecting more information and are working to get an official statement from the student.
The power of social media is extremely influential. As we have seen this week, many situations have gained popularity online and rumors spread like wildfire. We urge our students and community members to understand that sometimes social media can disguise rumors as facts. The inappropriate rumors spreading about this staff member is completely deplorable. Rumors have implications that affect the lives of the individuals.
Every claim, official and unofficial, is taken extremely seriously and investigated as quickly and thoroughly as possible.