Alexandria City and school officials say they followed their policies and the law in not broadly informing parents of a sexual assault case on a Virginia high school campus last fall.
But some parents have criticized the move.
The handling of sexual assault allegations in Loudoun County schools got national attention last year — with the school system being accused of a cover-up
In the Alexandria incident, a student was arrested in December for rape and other charges in connection with a reported assault in October at the Minnie Howard campus of Alexandria High School. The student, who is a juvenile, was later acquitted, according to a statement from city officials.
While school board members and city officials were informed quickly about the incident, parents schoolwide were not informed of the attack the National Review reports.
“Parents had zero communication regarding this incident. This crime should scare parents. If parents knew what had happened, parents could have necessary talks with their children and pressure the school to increase safety,” Molly Kaiman, an Alexandria City Public Schools parent, told the conservative magazine.
Many parents first learned there was an alleged sexual assault during a presentation a school safety data during a school board meeting earlier this month.
A school official told The Washington Post in an interview they informed the parents of those involved immediately but that the system, in consultation with police, only informs all parents in the school if there is a possible threat to campus safety.
Officials from the city of Alexandria said in a statement March 18, “In response to recent references in the media about a sexual assault involving juveniles in Alexandria, the City of Alexandria is aware of the incident, that it was adjudicated in Court, and that the defendant was acquitted. Pursuant to Virginia State Law Section 16.1 — 301, details regarding incidents involving juveniles must remain confidential and cannot be shared.”
In a tweet on March 18, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said the city “takes any accusation of sexual assault seriously and vigorously advocates for justice on behalf of victims.”
Shortly after the alleged assault, the city reinstated school resource officers.