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Students marching from FHS to the police station to protest sexual harassment (May 17, 2019). Photo: My Ferndale News

School District: Walk-out may raise anxiety – counselors to be available Monday

After Friday’s student walk-out to protest claims of sexual assaults and harassment at Ferndale High School and lack of response when reported, the Ferndale School District sent an email to My Ferndale News announcing they would be providing counselors for “any student who wants to talk about issues related to sexual violence.”

We are deeply concerned that our students are experiencing anxiety or feeling unsafe at school. The student walkout on Friday afternoon may raise anxiety levels for some students and we plan to have counselors available on Monday to support any student who wants to talk about issues related to sexual violence.

We have a four step protocol in regard to student report of sexual assault or violence:

1. Believe, support and validate. Every time. No exception.

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2. Tell the student you are going to contact the School Counselor.

3. Determine if a report is required. School employees are mandatory reporters and in cases involving minor students, we have a duty to protect students by reporting any incidents of sexual assault or violence.  

4. Contact the School Counselor who will tell the student that they are required to report to law enforcement or CPS and invite the student to participate in the report.

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These protocols are non-negotiable. All staff in the District, classified and certificated, are required to sign off that they have read them on an annual basis.  

We always encourage students to share concerns with a trusted staff member so that we can help them.

Organizers of Friday’s walk-out told My Ferndale News the walk-out was intended to bring attention to sexual harassment and assaults they said they and others were experiencing. Walk-out participants said their reports had not been adequately dealt with when reported so the problems continue.

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