Teen Threatened With Expulsion Over T-Shirt Asking Boys Not To Touch Her

by Christina Marfice
Image via Istock/Getty Images/Reddit

This mom is getting a crash course in the legality of sexual assault at her daughter’s high school

In a horrifying thread on Reddit’s r/LegalAdvice sub, a mom asked for advice about her daughter suffering literal, repeated sexual assault at school, and then her principal threatening to expel her for fighting back. The advice she’s received has been great, but seriously, how is a situation like this even happening in 2018?

In the thread, the unnamed mom described her 17-year-old daughter’s predicament at an unnamed school in Wisconsin.

“My 17 year old daughter was a late bloomer, but she ‘developed’ a lot over the summer. Since returning to school, she has been groped multiple times by her male classmates. She reported this to the principal and after ‘conducting an investigation’ he told her that the boys were just joking around and teasing her and she shouldn’t take it so seriously.”

Oh yes, the classic “boys will be boys” defense. I am already furious. And folks, that is just the very beginning of this story.

“It didn’t stop,” the mom continued, “so I met with the principal and he told me that she wasn’t making it clear enough to these boys that she didn’t want to be touched.”

Oh, great. Here’s the part where he blames the victim. This girl is being repeatedly groped at school because she hasn’t made it clear that she doesn’t want to be groped. Of course. Because everyone knows the default is to touch someone’s body in a sexual way, and to only stop if they’re really insistent they don’t want that. /sarcasm.

And so, this poor girl who has been told she’s not doing enough to let boys know she doesn’t want her breasts touched while she is at school, decided to make it crystal clear.

“Yesterday, my daughter wrote ‘BOYS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH ME’ on a white t shirt and wore it to school,” the mom wrote. “I wasn’t aware that she did this but I don’t think it was wrong. She was sent home for the day and told that her shirt was inappropriate. I talked to the principal again today and he said that her shirt was sexist because it implied that ‘men are animals.’ He told me that he was considering expulsion over her t-shirt because it was harassment.”

At this point, I have to stop reading because I’m seeing red. Hopefully you are, too.

The only good news here is that the mom’s legal options are perfectly clear, according to hundreds of comments on the thread. The principal is in deep shit because he’s a mandated reporter, according to many people familiar with Wisconsin law, and the mom’s next steps are to file a police report for the sexual assault and to go to the school board with complaints about the principal’s completely asinine reaction.

Considering Brett Kavanaugh’s ongoing Supreme Court confirmation hearings amid multiple allegations of sexual assault, and Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing, happening at this very moment after he was convicted of rape, this news could not be more poignant for the time we live in. The seemingly constant barrage of headlines about sexual assault not only illustrate how far-reaching and all-consuming rape culture has always been, but that women are finally becoming emboldened to come forward. And the treatment they face when they do, like by this asshat principal, illustrates how far we still have to go.