When Dallas administrators let sexual assault allegations go unaddressed, they were forced to call in police who used tasers on rioting high school students.
Earlier this month in a north Dallas suburb, students at Little Elm High School staged a walk-out in protest of a sexual assault allegation they say school administrators failed to address. What started as a peaceful assembly soon escalated into a violent conflict that led to four arrests and the use of pepper spray and tasers on teenagers.
Unlike a similar protest that happened at nearby Guyer High School a month earlier, the protesters at Little Elm High School were mainly students, not adults. Also, instead of marching around the school peacefully, the protesters attempted to enter the school and presumably confront its principal, Dr. Gerald Muhammad, in his office. According to witnesses and videos, students were shouting and banging on windows and doors.
This led administrators to summon the police to “calm” down the situation, which soon became a “major disruption,” according to local news reports. Far from diffusing the tension, police took aggressive action against some of the students, wrestling a young woman to the ground, tasing a young man, and using pepper spray on another student.
By the end of the whole affair, four students were arrested and the district issued a statement taking no responsibility for what transpired. They blamed a social media post for spreading misinformation about the situation and justified their decision to call in law enforcement.
Some parents complained of the excessive force and the permissive attitude towards alleged sexual abuse, but there has been no indication that either the school or local authorities will take any further action regarding the alleged victim or her advocates.
While it would be easy to write off the whole thing as a group of juvenile delinquents using an online rumor as a pretext to rampage through their high school, this would ignore some troubling issues that have become systemic in schools, particularly this year.
First, it must be understood that many school campuses, even those in the suburbs, are not safe places anymore. Fights between students, bullying, and even gun violence are becoming more common, and students are understandably more anxious and depressed. The National Association of School Resource Officers reports that gun-related incidents tripled this year compared to 2019.
This protest is already the third public instance of campus safety being compromised in a Texan high school within the past month. The first was the shooting at Timberview High School in Mansfield ISD. The second concerned an alleged serial sexual abuser at Guyer High School in Denton ISD. The third was the sexual assault allegation and subsequent outcry in Little Elm ISD.