Okla. Students Walk Out in Rape Protest

They support classmates who say they were bullied after being raped
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2014 8:20 AM CST
Okla. Students Walk Out in Rape Protest
An organizer identified only as Jamie encourages protesters outside Norman High School on Nov. 24, 2014, in Norman, Okla.   (AP Photo/The Norman Transcript, Jay Chilton)

High school students in Oklahoma walked out of classes yesterday in solidarity with three classmates who say they were raped by a fellow student and then bullied by the alleged attacker's friends. Hundreds of teens at Norman High School participated in the protests, which accused school officials of failing the three girls, Reuters reports. Protesters chanted slogans like "No justice, no class" and "No more bullying," the Oklahoman reports. All three of the alleged victims have stopped attending school, classmates say. "They don't want to come back because they don't feel safe to come back," says one protest organizer. She says the school suggested the girls switch high schools.

A 16-year-old girl first reported the alleged attacker; afterward, two other girls said the same student had raped them. Police are investigating, they say, though the Oklahoman notes that officers weren't immediately told about the allegations. Still, a police captain says that school officials have been clear and open about the case. "The idea that we would punish a victim for being a victim is reprehensible," says one administrator. The alleged perpetrator, 18, has been suspended from school for the year, while a student said to have led the bullying has also been barred from school. Students are calling on the school's principal to implement new training programs and to install an advocate for victims. (More Oklahoma stories.)

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