WHEATFIELD, NY (WKBW) — The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District says a male student who pleaded guilty to rape won't be allowed back in school.
A new statement posted on the district's website states the student, (we have removed his name due potential youthful offender status), will not be allowed on school property or allowed to attend any co-curricular events.
Here is the full district superintendent's statement issued Friday:
It was brought to my attention that there is misinformation circulating regarding when the District learned that a student plead guilty to unlawful conduct in court. It was not until yesterday, May 30 - and in the afternoon, that the District was shown a document (not provided a copy) from Niagara County Court indicating that a student had plead guilty. As such, claims made prior to the afternoon of May 30th that the District was allowing a convicted felon to participate in school or co-curricular activities are not accurate in that the District was not made aware of the status or result of the criminal proceeding by the individuals and/or entities involved. As previously indicated, we are now in a position to address the situation directly and will do so.
Please be advised that the student in question will not be returning to school for the remainder of the school year, is not permitted on school property and will not be in attendance at any co-curricular events.
Niagara Wheatfield High School students held a walk-out at noon Friday in protest of how the district handled the situation. The district insists it was not aware that the student pleaded guilty to third-degree rape last week.
In a Facebook post, the mother of a Niagara Wheatfield student says a male student - whom she didn't name - sexually assaulted her daughter but was allowed to return to the same high school after pleading guilty to a felony sexual assault. The post appeared on the page of a woman who's name we are not using to protect the identity of her daughter.
On Thursday, the district said a student pleaded guilty last week in a "criminal matter" that took place off school grounds last year involving two of its high school students and says the district "was just informed" of the student's court plea but didn’t elaborate further on the case.
Here is the full statement from the Niagara Wheatfield School superintendent on Thursday:
Niagara Wheatfield Families,
I would like to address an incident involving two of our NWSD high school students regarding an allegation of serious, improper conduct reported to law enforcement previously and that took place off school property and outside of school functions in the summer 2018. This incident has been a criminal matter and therefore was proceeding through the criminal justice process with law enforcement.
The District adheres to state and federal requirements regarding student investigations and discipline. The District’s ability to address an allegation concerning an incident which occurred outside of school grounds and functions and which is being investigated by law enforcement is particularly challenging. That notwithstanding, our counselors and members of our administration have been working with the families throughout this situation and will continue to provide support and counseling as requested. We take any allegations involving student misconduct very seriously and, as appropriate, proceed with our own internal investigations in accordance with state and federal requirements and cooperate with law enforcement.
In this instance, I was just informed that the student accused plead guilty to unlawful conduct this past week in court. As a District, we are now in a position to address the situation directly and will do so.
This has been a challenging time for those involved and for our District community. I ask that you respect their privacy.
Please know that you may contact me anytime at 215-3003.
Here is the content of the mother's post earlier Thursday on Facebook:
..Boy sexually assaults girl. Girl takes 2 months and a lot of courage to disclose assault to trusted people. Boy is arrested, girl has restraining order, school says “boy has a right to an education during the court process.” Girl struggles with day to day life, with family, with friendships, with herself. Boy lives his best life. Girl seeks counseling. Girl loses joy in the extra curricular activities she’s loved for over 9 years and spends most of her days in the dark. Boy lives his best life. Girl misses practice to meet with the District Attorney prosecuting boy. Girl hurts everyone that cares about her, pushes them away because if she can’t love herself, nobody else can. Boy lives his best life. School says girl must sit out because she missed practice. Boy still unscathed. Girl isolates herself, loses her only friends when she desperately needs them the most, girl misses her old life. Boy lives his best life. Boy misses practices. School says so what, coach lets him start games. Girl talks to no one. Boy pleads guilty to a felony sex crime, still allowed to attend school, the prom, graduation etc. Girl is still lost. School notified of boys guilty plea. School notified boy is intentionally walking down hallway at school to stare at girl making her uncomfortable, school says “girl, take another route to class.” Boys class and locker are no where near where girls class is, school acknowledges this and ..SCHOOL STILL SAYS “GIRL YOU MUST TAKE ANOTHER ROUTE TO CLASS.”