TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Marana Unified School District sent a "Safety Notification" to Mountain View High School parents Friday regarding a "rumored planned protest."
According to the notification, the district informed Pima County Sheriff's Department about the possible protest.
"Students have a right to free speech and expressing their concerns as protected by the First Amendment. Students cannot be disruptive to the school day, however, or engage in activity that may be harmful to anyone at the school," the notification said. "As a result of these rumors and anticipated activity, we have notified Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Law enforcement will work with administration to support our commitment to maintaining a safe and orderly environment while providing additional supervision and answering general questions."
According to the district, there was a protest Wednesday at Marana High School that disrupted school activities.
Students were demonstrating against what they perceived was lax prosecution about sexual assaults and rapes with the students as victims. More than 12,000 people have signed a related Change.org petition requesting that Marana High School make its "policies about rape and sexual assault allegations sticter."
An MUSD spokeswoman released this statement to KGUN Thursday:
Yesterday at Marana High School, a group of students formed a protest, stating that there had been reports of sexual assault/violence on campus, which they believed had not properly been addressed by the school or District administration.
The protest began peacefully and school and District administrators listened to students’ concerns. Over time, the protest became increasingly disruptive to the school day and administrators asked the students to return to class at approximately 1:50, ending the protest.
MUSD has stringent protocol and processes for managing sexual assault allegations, and every concern we have received related to this event or similar events have been promptly investigated and/or turned over to local law enforcement agencies when necessary. School and District leaders will continue to follow up on the students’ concerns that were shared during the protest.
At MHS and in MUSD, we take allegations of sexual assault very seriously, as it is our legal obligation related to Title IX. Equally as important is our commitment to our students, staff and families that we provide a safe learning environment.
This school year, MUSD has not received any Title IX complaints. Any individual, student or staff member is encouraged to use proper channels to report any potential cases of sexual assault, violence or discrimination, which we will follow up on and work with local law enforcement agencies when appropriate.
More information about Title IX can be found on our website. [maranausd.org]
PCSD deputy Marissa Y. Hernandez told KGUN via email "We are aware of the protest, the school's SRO is present, no other law enforcement on campus except the the SRO. We are prepared to respond if necessary. There is no increased presence."
On Wednesday, Marana issued this statement:
September 15, 2021
MUSD Parents, Guardians and Staff:
I wanted to take this opportunity to address the concerns around reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape that have been circulating through the media and on social media. Unfortunately, information being shared online has become sensationalized, and in many cases, is inaccurate. Nonetheless, this is a very serious topic and the safety of our staff and students is our number one priority. As such, I wanted to clarify the situation as well as share how the District handles cases of this nature.
Last week, students initiated a protest at Marana High School (MHS) stating concerns about reports of sexual assault in the District, including concerns about officials properly addressing cases over the last two years. The event that sparked the protest was an alleged off-campus incident that occurred last spring. At that time, the information was promptly referred to law enforcement by school personnel, and the incident remains under investigation by authorities. Further, the Marana High School administration has met with the alleged victim and victim’s parent and offered multiple supportive measures.
Unfortunately, posts on social media are characterizing this incident as a rape that occurred on campus. That is not true. While this off-campus case remains open, it is important to note that there have been zero allegations of rape on campus or at school-sponsored activities at Marana High School or in the District.
Individuals are also alleging our school and school administration do not provide support for students who have experienced sexual assault. This is also not true.
I want to be very clear, MUSD and MHS condemn and do not tolerate any form of sexual assault or sexual harassment. We have immediately addressed instances of this nature when they arise, and we will continue to do so in the future. Nothing is more important than protecting the safety and well-being of our students, but our efforts require the help and cooperation of our students and their parents to do the best job we can.
As such, following the protests on campus, school leaders have engaged and listened to students’ concerns. The MHS leadership team has developed a plan in collaboration with students about how they are going to further educate and support students throughout the District on this topic now and in the future. Additionally, the MHS leadership team is working with District counseling services to provide new support groups for students while increasing avenues for disseminating general information about how students and families can report concerns regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Additionally, it is imperative that a student or staff member must report any conduct that may involve sexual assault or sexual harassment to school or District officials, or law enforcement. There are strict protocols in place for reporting, investigating, and supporting our staff and students. Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Kristin Reidy serves as the District’s Title IX Coordinator. We strongly encourage anyone to reach out to her or a trusted staff member should you have something to report.
When the District receives this type of information, we coordinate our efforts with law enforcement, and also follow protocol outlined in Title IX law. When reports of this nature are received, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly contact every identified victim and/or their parents - whether a formal complaint was filed or not - to discuss the following:
- Whether the individual wishes to access the supportive measures the District offers
- Supportive measures are available with or without filing a formal complaint
- Whether the individual wished to file a formal complaint
The District website contains more information related to its Title IX policy, as well as a link to the required training for school Title IX personnel. All District employees are also required to complete Title IX training annually.
Marana High School is the same safe, student-centered campus that it has always been. I firmly support the Marana High School administration and the actions that have been taken to address this incident and address students’ concerns. I continue to be impressed with the level of compassion, intelligence and collaboration demonstrated by their entire team and school staff.
Daniel Streeter, Ed.D.