RURAL RETREAT, Va. (WFXR) — The parents of a former Fort Chiswell High School student say their child was sexually assaulted by several upperclassmen in the boy’s locker room.
The parents made their voices heard, as well as other members of the community, at the Wythe County Public School (WCPS) board meeting on Mar. 12.
The board gave a statement at the conclusion of the meeting, saying the students responsible for the assault were given proper disciplinary consequences, but many at the meeting say it’s not enough.
It was a long public comment segment at the meeting, with many speaking on behalf of the student. The sexual assault claim was made in July of 2019 after a summer football practice.
“He was held down by at least four people,” said Makenzi Witchley, the student’s mother. “Two of them stuck fingers in his anus, rectum, however you want to refer to it as.”
The student has since transferred from Fort Chiswell to another school. Witchley says she’s had an uphill battle with school officials since.
“I went to the school in November to try and talk to the principal. He wouldn’t speak with me,” Witchley said.
One person who spoke on behalf of the student was Karen James, and she said she had no intentions of speaking at the meeting. That changed after she heard both parents.
“The school board should have protected him,” said James. “They should defend him, and they didn’t.”
According to Witchley, the only punishment given to the students responsible was a one-game suspension in the 2019 football season.
“If I were to do something, I would have to face consequences for my actions, and I feel that it should be the same for everybody on the same level,” said Witchley.
“It’s not fair how they allowed things to go on with that good ol’ boy mentality. They are just boys; boys will be boys. That’s not boys will be boys,” said James.
There was no on-camera comment from WCPS, just the following statement.
As for the victim, Witchley told WFXR that he is doing as good as he can be. His parents and members of the community are making sure nothing like this ever happens to another student in Wythe County.
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