by Felina Silver Robinson
Through the years I’ve read a number of articles about unsolved sexual assaults on college campuses around the world. Often times I’ve felt that these cases may have gone unsolved because those meant to solve them have an underlying impression that the victims were deserving of their assault. We all have our own impressions of the behavior of college students. It’s true that some students may dress provocatively, exude a promiscuous image while giving young men the wrong impression. Any parent, psychologist, or psychologist knows that young adults experiment with a great number of things before settling down to the level of maturity they will need to live an adult life. Regardless of any persons appearance or behavior, young or old, isn’t an open invitation for sex. If someone hasn’t verbally asked for it, then don’t assume you have a right to what is not yours. Being married or in a relationship doesn’t give you the right to expect sex either.
For most parents the idea of sending their children away to college is a hard one. Today, violence of all kinds is so out of control we are all living in fear of just taking our dogs for a walk where even they are in risk of attack.
When students are excitedly filling out their college applications one thing they shouldn’t have to think about is what their risks are of being sexually assaulted will be. They definitely shouldn’t have to wonder how safe their campus will be. But I’m almost certain that today not only are the students thinking about it, their parents are too.
Drinking alcohol, experimenting with drugs and whatever else young people are doing today, unfortunately gives these sick predators headway into the acts they tend upon committing. Sometimes predators don’t know that the act will happen until it’s too late, by then all they care about is themselves and clearing out before anyone can finger them for the act. Other predators want their victims to know they did, but terrorize them to point where they know their victim won’t utter a word for fear of what might happen to them down the line including another assault or more likely death.
My words are indeed meant to scare you into the reality of the life around you. When we take things too lightly that’s when they get worse. Truly, I just want there to be an awareness about the misconceptions that people have about one another. Taking what’s not yours and what’s not offered to you should come at the highest cost, which should be your freedom. Victims carry their scars whether they be physical or emotional, for the rest of their lives. Therapy can only help so much. Attackers usually have no conscious, because it’s all about them. Well, I say it’s past their wake up time. Law enforcement, Campus Administrators, Lawyers and Parents, need to take a step up to protect their victims. Maybe, just maybe frat houses should become a thing of the past since they have continued for decades to be a big part of the problem. College life shouldn’t be remembered as the number of days a student spent in a drunken stupor or for how many women they took advantage of and had no price to pay for it.
I would just like to solute Sabrina Rubin Erdely for her chilling report “A Rape on Campus,” without her report UVA College Administrators would still have their eyes closed. My one wish is to have more eyes open to the seriousness of the problems all of our young adults are faced with. Bring back the safety and the natural joy of college life. College is about learning not boozing and assaulting innocent victims. I still have 4 out my 6 children with college life ahead of them and at this point, I can honestly say, I’m not looking forward to it.
BROCKTON, Mass. — School parents are facing a dilemma after a serious incident involving two students from the Oscar F. Raymond Middle School.
One middle school student is facing a charge of rape after a classmate accused him of attacking her in a wooded area minutes after school dismissal earlier this month. That student faces one count of rape, said police Lt. Kenneth LeGrice.
Ward 7 City Councilor Shirley Asack, who represents the ward where the school is located, expressed concern, the Enterprise reported.
“It’s concerning to me as a parent,” she said. “I have a 12-year-old. I don’t let my kids walk alone. We’re going to do everything we can as far as public safety, but parents need to know where our kids are. It’s scary, it’s pretty scary.”
School police Lt. Donald Mills said the 16-year-old boy was arrested a week after the alleged rape occurred on March 6, less than a mile away from the Raymond School as the two walked together to their respective homes.
The 14-year-old victim told police that the incident took place on a pathway near the Gilbert Walker Playground shortly after the 2:35 p.m. dismissal. Both of the students are eighth-graders at the kindergarten through Grade 8 school.
The incident went unreported for six days while the student refused to return to school or speak with authorities, police said. Once she did return, Mills said, her mother reported the incident to school officials, who immediately notified police.
The 16-year-old suspect was arrested at the school by school resource officers the next day, he said.
School Superintendent Kathleen Smith declined to comment on the matter citing the level of sensitivity with the case and the ages of those involved.
Although the incident occurred off school grounds, parent Rosa Pires, who has three children enrolled at Raymond School, said school officials should have notified parents about the incident.
“You would think they’d tell us something like this,” she said. “If your child does something bad, they’re quick to call you, but stuff like this you don’t hear about.”
The incident raised concerns of public safety among school and city officials.
Brockton School Committee Vice Chairman Thomas Minichiello said, “This is just so horrendous. It’s extremely disappointing that this happened.”
“Someone doing something allegedly outrageous, all we can do is remind students to be careful not to place themselves with people they may not know or trust,” he said.
Asack added, “We’d love to have more school police so they can have more of a presence after school.”
To reduce violent incidents involving students, parents, school officials and community members should go beyond the legal system and seek to educate students, said City Councilor-at-large Shaynah Barnes.
“It’s important that they look at school and home history,” she said. “Safety in school should involve guidance counselors teaching the kids about how to behave with their classmates, a specialist coming in to do some workshops and training teachers on how to detect signs of sexual aggression.”
Mayor Bill Carpenter declined to speak about the incident, but said he will reach out to school district administrators and law enforcement to address safety measures.
“Thousands of other parents will also want to know,” he said.
Brockton School Committee member Andy Robinson, of Ward 2, also declined to discuss the specific incident, but said that officials have gone to great lengths to create an environment in schools that makes students feel comfortable with coming forward with concerns.
“For better or worse, bad things still happen and some of them unfortunately happen outside of school,” he said. “The school district is taking appropriate action within their ability to ensure the safety of students.”
Ward 7 member Raymond Henningson also declined to comment. Meanwhile, messages left with committee members Judy Sullivan of Ward 5, Patricia Joyce of Ward 4 and Allisha Jean Clark of Ward 3 for comment were not immediately returned.
School Committee members were notified about the incident the day the incident was reported, Minichiello said.
Pupil abused repeatedly, authorities say
BROOKLINE — Faculty and parents at the prestigious Park School are reeling following the arrest of a longtime Latin teacher on multiple charges of indecent assault and battery of a child under the age of 14 and a separate, second arrest of an employee on statutory rape charges.
Gregory Grote, a 65-year-old Roslindale resident who has taught at the private school for 26 years, was charged Monday with an assault that allegedly occurred last December. The victim was described by Brookline police as a former student at The Park School, a 125-year-old institution that serves prekindergarten through ninth grade.
“We know that this news is shocking and distressing,” Michael E. Robinson, the head of the 560-student school, wrote to parents this week. He urged parents and alumni to come forward with any further information.
Grote’s arrest followed the arraignment last Wednesday of a 29-year-old teacher’s assistant who was charged with the aggravated statutory rape of a public school student.
Carlos Morales, who has helped teach fifth grade at The Park School, has been held pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Wednesday at Brookline District Court.
Gregory Grote has been charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and one count of assault and battery.
Morales, who once worked as a paraprofessional for the Brookline public schools, has been placed on an indefinite unpaid leave of absence by The Park School.
When told of Grote’s arrest in a phone interview, a former colleague at The Park School gasped. “What?” said Peter Amershadian, a former head of the modern language department who has known Grote for years. “Oh, my God. I can’t talk right now.”
The Park School, located on 34 acres near Jamaica Pond, has many links to the powerful and influential and sends many of its students to elite prep schools.
Following the back-to-back arrests, Robinson has sought to reassure parents that the school conducts comprehensive background checks.
“The safety of the children entrusted to us is always our first priority,” he wrote to parents.
“The school performs criminal and sex-offender background checks on all new hires and, as a matter of routine, performs background checks on faculty and staff who are in our employ.”
Grote, who also led students on trips abroad and tutored during the summer, was arrested Saturday and arraigned Monday, when he was released after posting $1,000 cash bail, authorities said.
He has been charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and one count of assault and battery.
The teacher has been ordered by authorities not to contact the victim or the student’s family, to stay away from children under 16, and to stay away from The Park School. He is scheduled to return to Brookline District Court on March 5 for a pretrial conference.
Grote’s last background check occurred in the spring and did not show any criminal conduct, Robinson said in a statement e-mailed to the Globe Tuesday.
“We encourage anyone in our community with any knowledge or concern to contact us and the appropriate authorities,” Robinson added. He also said that the school would reach out to alumni, but several graduates said Tuesday that they had not heard of Grote’s arrest.
“If there is anything that you have observed during Mr. Grote’s time here at Park that concerns you, please notify me immediately,” Robinson wrote parents. The school psychologist will respond to student and family needs, he added.
After classes ended Tuesday, nearly all parents who had arrived to pick up their children declined to comment on the charges. However, one parent, who asked not to be identified, said the school has been thoughtful in its response.
Grote did not answer his door in Roslindale Tuesday, and efforts to reach his lawyer were unsuccessful.
Robinson’s predecessor as head of school, Jerrold I. Katz, said in a statement to the Globe that he was “deeply saddened” by the allegations against Grote.
“Throughout my 20 years at Park School, Mr. Grote was highly regarded and respected as a teacher,” said Katz, who served as head of school from 1993 until earlier this year.
“My thoughts certainly are with the alleged victim and with the entire Park School community during this very difficult time.”
Grote had become a fixture at the school, chaperoning students on trips to foreign destinations such as Hadrian’s Wall, a Roman barrier built between what are now England and Scotland, and to the ruins in Pompeii, Italy.
In a reference to the Hadrian’s Wall trip in 1990, a Park School publication lauded the venture as a huge success that “quickly became institutionalized.”
Before joining The Park School, Grote had been on the faculty of the King School in Stamford, Conn., where he taught Latin and history and coached sports.
Carlos Morales accused of assaulting juvenile
A former Brookline school teacher was charged Wednesday with aggravated statutory rape after authorities say he assaulted a juvenile.
Carlos Morales, 29, of Brookline, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment at Brookline District Court.
The news left parents across town concerned, as Morales had taught at three different schools during a teaching tenure that appears to have ended about a year ago.
“I’m in shock,” said Hetal Patel, whose son interacted with Morales while he worked at the Driscoll Extended Day Program. “I didn’t know how to react, because my son had been here in this school for two years. I have seen him almost every day for two years here.”
Patel told NewsCenter 5 that Morales, who also taught at the Pierce and Devotion schools in Brookline, was very well-liked by students and parents.
“He would say hello, smile, he would joke,” she said. “Many parents say that was one of their favorite teachers.”
Brookline Public Schools issued a statement Wednesday stressing that Morales is a former teacher, and that the alleged crime took place off of school property.
“[Brookline schools] is currently identifying students who may have had contact with Mr. Morales and is in the process of contacting the families of those students directly,” the statement read.
“What do you need to do now?” Patel asked. “What does the school, or what does the Brookline education system do to make sure that things like this don’t happen?”
Other parents, like Lee Wetzler, said they’ll have another conversation with their children, and suggested the school needs to pay especially close attention to online interactions between students and teachers.
“We’ve always been very open” about such issues with our children, Wetzler told NewsCenter 5. “They understand. And they’re very good at this school about teaching about these type of things — online safety and all these other things that go on.”
Morales is due back in court Dec. 18 for a dangerousness hearing.
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