Metro Weekly

Mother Claims LGBTQ Child Sexually Assaulted at Ballou High School

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the allegations of an on-campus assault at the Southeast D.C. school.

Ballou Senior High School – Photo: BallouHS.org

D.C. police are investigating a complaint from the mother of an LGBTQ student at Ballou Senior High School in Southeast D.C., who claims her child was sexually assaulted on the school’s campus in March.

According to an incident report, officers from the Metropolitan Police Department were called last Tuesday about the allegations. The report, which doesn’t contain many details, states that a person called police to report “alleged sexual abuse” between two people on March 15, reports WTOP.

D.C. Councilmember Trayon White (D-Ward 8), who represents the ward containing Ballou, released a joint statement with Abdur-Rahim Briggs, chairperson of the Ward 8 Commission on LGBTQ, informing the community of the allegations.

“I was alerted by a parent of an LGBTQ Ballou High School student that her child was sexually assaulted on campus,” White said in the statement. “I reached out to the Metropolitan Police Department and they were aware and responded. We want to do everything in our power to ensure our youth are safe and hold those responsible accountable.”

“I am saddened to hear that an alleged assault took place where children are expected to be safe,” Briggs said in the statement. “The Commission will work alongside Councilmember White’s office to support this investigation.”

An MPD spokesperson told WTOP that the incident remains under investigation.

“MPD is working with our partners at DCPS to investigate this case and ensure the safety of all students,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

D.C. Public Schools has increased security at Ballou, adding additional hallway and perimeter sweeps during the day, reports ABC affiliate WJLA

‘We are aware of reports of sexual misconduct at Ballou High School and are working with our partners at MPD and CFSA to investigate these incidents,” DCPS said in a statement to WJLA. “We recognize the strength of our students in reporting these incidents and are providing additional mental health supports to the school community.”

Dr. Willie Jackson, Ballou High School’s principal, said in a letter, distributed on March 22, that the school was aware of the allegations.

“I want to acknowledge these distressing reports and recognize any allegations regarding our student’s safety and wellbeing are taken extremely seriously,” Jackson wrote in the letter. “I want to outline and share the process for investigating and supporting our community through these types of situations.”

Jackson added that DCPS staff are trained at recognizing signs of sexual abuse, reporting them, and receiving disclosures from students.

He said that when an allegation of sexual misconduct does occur, the school works with DCPS’ Central Office, law enforcement, and other city agencies, such as the Child and Family Services Administration, to ensure the safety of the victim and hold the alleged perpetrator accountable.

“I know that parents and families may wish to know the specifics about allegations made concerning our school community, but I must restate that for the safety and confidentiality of our students and community we cannot share any information regarding ongoing investigations or their outcomes,” Jackson wrote. 

“Regarding the supportive measures outlined above, we will continue to work with any students involved in these recent allegations including providing access to our school social worker and therapist. I also want to share that those services are available to any student in our community who may need them based on hearing this news, or for any mental health-related support they may need. We care about our students, and we are here to help.”

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