DC principal on leave, allegedly mocked student’s sex assault claim

WASHINGTON — A high school principal in D.C. is on administrative leave, for her reaction to a girl’s claim she was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom.

The Washington Post said the girl and her mother were in the office of Roosevelt High School Principal Aqueelha James in June, discussing the girl’s assertion she had been forced into a bathroom and groped.

The girl’s mother was recording the conversation on her smartphone, but left the room to comfort her daughter. However, the recording continued.

In a federal civil rights lawsuit against the principal and the D.C. government, James allegedly mocked the girl’s claim, calling it bull—- in discussions with colleagues.

According to the suit, James said she planned on describing the girl’s dress to police, in an attempt to discredit her.

“This…is going to compromise her,” James said in the recording. “I’m going to call MPD, I’m going to have a long, drawn-out email just so I can embarrass her,” the Post reported.

The school system said it had launched and closed an investigation months ago into the handling of the case, but declined to provide details of that internal review.

Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she had listened to the recording and called on D.C. public schools to re-examine how James handled the matter.

Interim chancellor of D.C. Public Schools sent a letter home to Roosevelt parents, informing them the system is doing a second review of the incident.

“Please be assured that [the D.C. school system] takes the safety, security, and privacy of all of our students seriously,” wrote Amanda Alexander. “While this review is in progress, it is important for everyone that Roosevelt High School continue[s] to be a loving and challenging place of learning where students feel safe.”

James had no comment to the Post.

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