The kids aren’t all right
Federal law requires colleges and universities to track and disclose sexual assaults on campus. It’s different for kindergarten through 12th grade, where there are no similar requirements for cases involving assaults between students. In elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S., the Associated Press found a shocking level of sexual violence among students.
On this episode of Reveal, we delve into the results of AP’s yearlong investigation.
Head over to revealnews.org for more of our reporting.
And to see some of what you’re hearing, we’re also on Instagram @revealnews.
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the Zen of investigative reporting or if this were the jolly way isn't Aegis didn't know how bad it was I was like all the to stand up tall you know to give the Father Son and ten feel like I was getting anywhere after jazz greats drop any refuse to she had to get to the farm I said if you don't tell me I can help you we can fix this I need you have and that's when he started telling he told her that he sexually assaulted at school by all the kids it's happened to thousands of children like schools often don't know how to deal with the We reveal supported in part by Hello fresh however fresh of the meal kit delivery service that makes cooking more fun see you can focus on the whole experience not just the final play each week Ella fresh creates new delicious recipes with step by step instructions designed to take around thirty minutes for everyone from novices to seasoned home cooks short on time its source the freshest ingredients measured the exact quantities needed so there's no food waste hello fresh is now offering late spring males and has just made his breakfast options for less than ten dollars meal for thirty dollars off your first week of hello fresh with that hello fresh dot com enter the promo code revealed thirty from the Center for investigative reporting in PR folks this is reveal a mallet and the Mid coast of Maine was full of pine forests sleepy harbors craggy beaches Charlie Wing this part of the state is a place of easy summers and cold winters few weeks ago to standing on the beach looking out at an old pier and lifeguard station in the distance lobster boats prowling the mound for the Kennebunk River Charlie remembers one blustery September afternoon when his son chess trophy it was storming mad and it was colder than a few knows exactly a nice day but this place has always kind of car may seem to have the time like there was a storm inside Chad use water to try to talk to and find out what was going on was five years ago Chaz was thirteen just starting eighth grade in crisis was barely passing his classes he was talking about suicide Charlie knew of the kids were bullying his son at school but not a lot more than we started walking and just couldn't quite get I didn't understand the depth of what had been happening to him I was like love them all easy to stand upto you know no trying to give him the father son you know you just got to be stand up to them was like Charlie in Chez slowly made their way at the beach and feel like I was getting anywhere after mile we turned around then Chaz Stockton St standing there looking out the water waves and wind come adamant stuff in the He said Mind if I go and water and I was a show or a thought can lead to commit suicide several times Jazz rolled up his pants took off his shoes and socks and place them neatly on the beach his father stared after wondering if he'd have to rescue his son he walked out kind of up to his knees and then he sorry like yelling at the Scott I listen to me listen to her and I didn't know what it meant but he said a four five times all I understood was I I think that I'm dealing with a problem that's larger the time didn't know I just had the time been a sexual assault The before we go any further you should sexual it's an issue that is an often when you hear about students being abused at school it involves adults teachers coaches or other staff but the Associated Press investigated these cases for years and found something surprising for everyone child abuse by an adult at school seven Our piece but it appears teaming up with the AP on Today Show they also found that many of these cases go unreported people don't like to talk about the stuff it was like that which as we hit is abuse and pain for long time but he talks to Associated Press reporter Robin McDowell about it she brings a story from his first days at Brunswick Junior High School has remembers being bullied he tells me boys would corner him at his locker it on to him in the halls they bumped him in class they play jokes I think they picked on me because of my weight type of music I listen to my interests lay I I acted anything that wasn't completely cookie cutter a middle school boys' attitudes The The The The Chaz is eighteen now but he's always been a quirky kid the stock brown mud thanks to his shoulders he collects old records cassette eight track tapes instead of sports and video games he started an analog come to school if he's found his interesting kid this is his mother Amy blond blue eyed she's a nurse who is passionate about her work and her two sons she's put up with Charlie when Chaz was in the fifth grade she says when she has entered junior high he was considered gifted and talent within a his grades started slipping and come home feeling confused and upset wire to wire the kids mean really mean to me at first I was like whoa that they have problems at home they're just picking on you to make themselves feel better if you ignore me I'll stop chest tried to ignore the bullying but I got a lot more personal though was the thing that they caught the gay tests can you tell me about it the test was when they really put their hand on your shoulder and if you didn't notice it and better lay in under ten seconds they ah they would declare that you are gay and you must of enjoyed it and that's why you didn't knock their hand away um it was very uncomfortable I definitely had to wash over my shoulder quite a bet it will happen inside and out of school and I didn't feel like I had any privacy among like a lot of schools around the country Brunswick Junior High had a policy against bullying the tas remembers anti bullying assemblies and posters If You See Something Say Something so he did he complain so many times some teachers labeled him a nuisance the ball and got so bad his mom Amy says she marched into Principal Doctor Wallace's office several times he told her You speak to the boys and their parents at first he seemed like he was interested I trusted that he would follow through and look and everything they kept saying that they were the were handling at the the AMA says Wallace didn't live up to his promises the is so beautiful and just the salt air about the sea ever since he was a kid Charlie Wing liked coming here to Palm Beach it's a half hour drive from Brunswick I don't mind get a little but let's try doing looks like a biker with a grain shaggy beard he works at a big retailer dresses like a drummer in Iraq fan that's what he does for fun on a blustery September day when he brought Chaz here Charlie says felt like a movie where getting last in the face with a little and him just yelling at that to win you know at The furious about the powers that be I suppose you know I'll never forget that just that this is a big deal to really start paying more attention the the the the the the fast Intel is that anything then but he was about to open up it started after they met with a group of his teachers Chaz was refusing to go to school the teachers wanted to get him back into classes but they told Amy that as needed to meet with the so she headed home and told him he said No I can't coach which as you have to they want you to be at that meeting him he grabbed the pillow on the bed and started scolding and was rocking back and forth and he said No I can't go and I said you have to succumb know like it they can hurt me and it's a chess you have to tell me what is going on and he just kept saying again hurt me hurt me I can't go back and finally I told him I said if you don't tell me I can help you we can't fix this I need to know what's going on you have to tell me and that and that's when he told me it started telling me everything Trask told Amy something had happened to him at school back in the seventh grade he says some of the same boys had been bullying him sexually assaulted him later Chaz gave more details under oath he said some boys grabbed him in a school bathroom and raped him three different times Chaz told me he didn't talk about this with anyone for months because he was ashamed and afraid to threaten to hurt me my family and pets they threaten to hurt me they make up my arm which I still have a scar from the threaten to burn our house down the and On the it all made sense on the I I didn't want to believe it I couldn't believe it I had never in a million school was where it was the the Amy Wing reported to the school what has told her about the sexual assault the principal Wallace led an investigation but left the job of interviewing Shasta as vice principal the Brunswick police also investigated the man in charge he was also the school resource officer at Brunswick Junior High the Jazz was telling the truth then the assaults happened on their watch the the the the investigations wrapped up in about a month the Brunswick Police Department and School District determined there was no credible evidence to support Chaz allegations even though a state psychologist found strong evidence that Chaz was sexually abused the only people who believe it happens it's actual site happens amongst children Courtney beer is someone Amy Wing turn to for help she's a staff attorney with Pine Tree a nonprofit that offers free legal aid I just don't think people want to acknowledge it exists and the discouraging part is that there's no way to track the numbers Courtney says she believes Chaz was telling the truth it became more real to her when she walked through Brunswick Junior High with them she looked into the case you could see Chavez raw sense of emotion when he had to walk into the bathrooms are the assaults had occurred and things that memories are coming back to him as he walked to school and he was disclosing details that he had not reported previously because he was remembering them the in two thousand fifteen the Wings filed a lawsuit claiming the district had violated as a civil rights by not doing enough to stop the bullying Appeals the state's Human Rights Commission joined the school officials wouldn't talk to us but they had to talk to Chad as lawyers we obtained hours of video depositions that were part of the losses the the the morning and Mr. Wallace could you spell your full name the record was the A L T E R in one deposition attorney David Weber questions principal watch her while he says other kids did bleach ass from time to time and the school dealt with it he also says he couldn't verify a lot of which has had to say there are a lot of reports about things that we could not substantiate there was this hyper sensitivity to any look any movement any the hallway he tells the court that some of causes problems with other students were his own fall as very opinionated and he likes what he likes if you don't agree with them on things he gets irritated with him some arrogance then they get into the sexual assault allegations Wallace said he had trouble believing it as a story because he didn't think the attacks could have happened in the small bathroom stalls and he believed what the other boys had to say and stews reaction a student idea what you're talking about he had frame of reference for the sacks he was bewildered he was confused the other stations immediately were they had known that ever happened to that do that did you ever interviewed chats with allegations of sexual assault by Hun Sen should you have spoken directly chess way I could of I don't I was confident the notes were taken this was a sensitive case on we're trying to do this quickly and as efficiently thusly as possible did you ever go back to Chaz one with any information you obtained the area's gas can you explain your concerns about plausibility or credibility of his allegations now that you consider going on not remember there's something else Walter Wallace didn't do he never made a written report he just told the school superintendent about his finding the right and use them I don't know I don't think this important judgment your chart and say Sure you've written your data to the El Toro to hospital and such as when Charles went in his deposition Chaz was a black dress shirt and gray tie he looks composed a turn in le si Huey questions him for eight hours over today at one point she brings up the times other boys would gently touch her shoulder the so called Kate asked Why were you concerned the people we thank you again because it was a taboo here was frowned upon by the majority of students at the school their attorney Courtney beer attended many of the depositions it certainly felt to me that he was seeking to somehow blame him for his involvement and for part of what happens his sexuality was a topic of question and that was something that the teachers had also asked him when he was in school as to whether or not he was gay if you wasn't him I if he's being called gay the complaint the transfer junior high school that two male students told you I love you yes you remember offended by the once why would you be offended by the objection voice is really out of touch with reality the tone of the cam shows because there's less question joke of the answers if that were suggestions country to the where what works and so I don't have a good faith basis for suggesting that a middle school boys not to be upset by that comment could you please repeat the question five naps at you someone said I want you because I I did not I think it was appropriate for another male student to love me I didn't have I didn't see any reason for them to say they love me later I ask as if he thought the way the attorney question him felt like another kind of gay test yes yes definitely I believe they were trying to solicit of a more aggressive angry response from me trying to make me seem belligerent The The The and the school's attorney spent hours ticking faster each alleged assault in graphic detail the AP describes how on one occasion two boys held him in a bathroom stall and raped him ok the I clean myself up and I went back to class to class due County with this bill and minute because I was afraid that I would I'd get the The and after the depositions wrapped up the Jazz in this family felt a rush of emotions was painful for them to relive all the things chassis when were angry the passes he also felt some it was almost over the The within a few weeks the two sides the district agreed to pay one hundred and twenty five thousand dollars after legal fees as fifty thousand the district also promised to improve the way it tracks allegations of bullying which as of all was an apology from Woodbine the the going to follow this road the recent let's take a drive it's an old mill town population twenty thousand down to the right is the back way to get to the goodwill of my favorite places to go shopping we passed the weekend flea market where he sells some of the old electronics he collects back at home has lead me down into his basement it's packed with stuff he's collected since he was little stuffy can't seem to let go and got the selective vision RCA VCR here I have a Beta Max VCR their CD player this is where everything is too good for the flea market stays everything I want to keep my own collection so that is that as a nineteen twenty four RCA with Vodafone audio capabilities I like preserving the history I like being able to access any tape any disc that comes my way be able to see what's on it not just be left wondering could this be the footage of my parents or grandparents taking their first steps the the past been able to tell a story that was trapped inside him is a bit like bringing these flickering images back to life now he just wants to move on the just finished high school the he said he might stand buns we can find a job or go to college sometimes I just want to hop on a bicycle ride all the way down to Florida where his grandparents live the the the passes he hopes his decision to go public to help others who face bullying and sexual violence in school he says he'd be willing to forgive the boys if they apologize to him he doesn't feel that way about the Brunswick school officials they're all adults they really knew know full well what their actions mean and one of their jobs is protecting the students they were accepting taxpayer money for something they weren't doing I don't think that they should still be in charge of a school district we reached out to Brunswick they wouldn't talk to is but just before we wrap the story the attorney for the school district Melissa Huey said the Associated Press a statement in it she said one reason the district settled thus to protect the boys that Chaz accused from a public trial she called them the real Thanks to The Associated Press is Robin McDowell for this story was produced by Michael Montgomery when we come back we'll have more about the scope of AP is reporting of sexual assault among kids came wrong because we're calling it bullying calling it hazing not cause of the problem here you're listening to reveal the listeners Julie be Cheryl's digital editor as you'll hear this hour unlike colleges and universities are no national requirements U S elementary and secondary schools to track students' sexual assaults in fact student sex assault reports vary state by state The Associated Press has found that although inconsistent and sometimes incomplete thirty two states and the District of Columbia do maintain information of these assaults so go see where your state stands by going to reveal News dot org slash report a piece put together an interactive summary for every single state again that reveal Ms dot org slash report from the Center for investigative PRS this is revealed well that today's with child sexual assault the important topic but one that isn't faultless before the break we heard way he settled a lawsuit with the school district over that other students bullied in Drayton this story is a part of an Associated into sexual violence we stunk when and which mall so Reese this investigation is really heavy subject and as a father with two kids in school was shocking to me I mean I don't think I thought about these type of assaults happening at least not on the scale you guys reported on yeah I'm a father of a first grader and I seen you other parents mean we all believe when we send our little ones off to school that there are so many adults around are going to be kept safe and over recent four year period we found roughly seventeen thousand cases rape sodomy sexual assault with an object force fondling these are severe we did not track consensual sex among teens this is the serious stuff we also know that academic studies estimated its significantly higher those who are sexually assaulted don't immediately report a report at all and schools across the country don't face a national requirement to track and disclose these cases Emily let me ask you what happens when this kind of things discover typically our schools react what schools are supposed to do when this happens is there's a posted first of all take this really really seriously according to Supreme Court rulings and U S Department of Education conducts a prompt and thorough investigation and keep the alleged victim alleged perpetrator apart take an honest assessment of whether the alleged victim is has been subjected to what they say is a hostile environment unfortunately we found lots of cases in which schools have responded this way they have been inducted impartial thorough investigation sometimes they'll bring both the alleged victim and the alleged offender into the principal's office just say OK what happened here often unfortunately kids who report the staff to administrators are disciplined so they're suspended or they're expelled or are there just forced to transfer to another school because the schools won't accommodate them in a way that allows them to go to school without being terrified of this all happening again you also reported on how hazing of school athletes can lead to these kind of sexual assaults and this is where language is really important because calling hazing officials aren't taking it as seriously as they should why are school districts and law enforcement calling it what it is a good question I think part of it is people think if you're part of a group near the new undergoes some summer as in from from the veterans you hear a lot in sports so I think that's why people use the term he's seen for what we saw in our investigation and what we saw tall is upperclassmen at the Leeds forcibly holding down the younger and doing some pretty pretty rough things mean we're talking about for sodomy it's not wanted and under many penal codes it's potentially a felony or the very lease misdemeanor sexual battery and experts are telling me because we're getting the language wrong because we're calling it bullying are calling and harassment are calling it hazing are not really addressing the root cause of the problem here in the school districts they would tell the public gets a inappropriate physical contact when they knew there was an allegation of sexual Sol Sol al does the public understand and know what's going on inside the locker rooms if we don't stop using for it but as a parent if your child is a victim of sexual abuse what recourse do you really have first would be criminal investigation the downside there is that Indy sorts of cases where the victim doesn't immediately come forward with the passage of time memories fade evidence is lost so in the cases we exam and there's not always criminal charges the next recorders would be filing a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights that's the office that handles violations of the federal law known as Title nine that's the anti discrimination law that the Education Department has been using to investigate the views that as the tool to re mediate any sexual violence at schools and other recourse is to civil courts