Lincoln County Mother Says School Leaders Are Failing To Take Claims Of Sexual Harassment, Assault, And Even Death Threats Seriously
LINCOLN CO., N.C. – Tiffany Thomas is going head-to-head with Lincoln County Public Schools. Her battle started Monday. “What brought this all to light was, a teacher heard the boy call my daughter…a ‘dumb a** b****,'” she says.
The boy was sent to detention. Then, Lincolnton Middle School leaders started asking Thomas’s daughter more questions. That’s when the girl told them this: “Over a two month span, he has told my daughter that he was gonna rip her clothes off like a bandaid and rape her in the boy’s bathroom. He brought a pocket knife to school, and took it out of his pocket, and told her he was gonna slash her throat,” says Thomas. And, “He threatened to shoot the school up, and told her he was gonna kill her first,” says Thomas.
It’s all in violation of the student code of conduct. Law enforcement is also investigating. As of Wednesday morning, the boy was still in school, and Thomas says he sexually harassed her daughter, again, in gym class. “While two detectives were on campus,” she says.
Thomas recorded a meeting she had with school leaders Monday. The School Resource Officer (a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy) can be heard telling her and her child: “Right now, it’s just hearsay, and right now, they’re gonna tell you, you don’t have enough (sic) leg to stand on,” as well as, “I’m just telling you, they’re (law enforcement) starting to edge away from that thing (investigating sexual assault/rape) because a lot of innocent people been charged.”
“I think that’s a terrible message to send to someone,” says attorney Chris Adkins. He continues, “It discourages other girls and women from coming forth with their stories.” Adkins says he and Thomas want the district to remove the boy from the school, and get him help. “Do we have to wait for an incident to happen before someone’s gonna take this seriously,” he says.
The Lincoln County School Superintendent sent WCCB a statement Wednesday saying in part, “…in addition to notifying and working with law enforcement, Lincoln County Schools has taken active measures to ensure the safety of all our students. I have also met with the parent to address her concerns first hand.”
Thomas says her daughter didn’t speak up sooner because the boy threatened to kill her. Now, she is hitting this head-on: hiring an attorney, using Facebook to spread the word, and asking WCCB to investigate. Thomas says, “I hope the message I’m sending is to stand up for your children, no matter what.”
Thomas tells WCCB the district has offered to have her daughter change class or even schools. She says the boy should be the one to move. Several students are planning to wear pink on Thursday, in support of the girl. Some are also planning to walk out of school in protest.