Hundreds of students in Loudoun County, Virginia, walked out of classes Tuesday morning to protest their school district’s handling of reported on-campus sexual assaults.
The demonstration took place after a 15-year-old boy was found guilty Monday of a May 28 attack on a teenage girl inside a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School.
The boy was transferred to Broad Run High School — where he was accused of another sexual assault on a different female classmate earlier this month.
Outside Broad Run High School on Tuesday, a group of students could be heard chanting “Loudoun County protects rapists,” according to local outlets.
Students at Riverside High School, Stone Bridge High School, Loudoun County High School and others also took part in the walkout, the reports said.
Organizers said the demonstration was intended to “show solidarity to victims of sexual violence and demand safety in our schools,” WUSA9 reported. Anyone participating was asked to wear white and make protest signs.
The district was recently thrust into the national spotlight after the father of the victim in the May assault was arrested after speaking out at a June 22 school board meeting.
In an Oct. 15 press conference, Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler acknowledged that the district’s current policies on handling reports of on-campus sexual assaults were inadequate.
He said he had reached out to state lawmakers and education officials to lobby for changes in how school systems investigate such allegations and for more protections for victims.
“It has become clear that our administrative procedures have not kept pace with the growth we have seen in our county,” Ziegler said.