Emotions boiled over last night as parents in Richmond, Calif. met with school board members to express their outrage over the brutal gang rape of a 15-year-old student following a homecoming dance at Richmond High School.
As the girl left a dance last Saturday night to get a ride home from her father, she was lured to a remote section of the campus, where she was beaten and raped by seven to 10 males over a period of more than two hours. More than a dozen others watched the attack, yet did nothing to stop it. At least four arrests have been made including that of a 19-year-old former student. Additional arrests may be coming.
Parents and teachers were upset about what they perceived as the school’s slow action to install adequate lighting and security cameras on the campus. During the meeting, board members promised cameras will be up and running within three months and recommended speeding up the approval process for a fence.
Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security, said that all too often school districts put off necessary security measures, claiming that they are either too costly or not necessary on their campuses.
“I understand budgets are tight, but there is no excuse for not funding basic security measures to keep students safe while on campus,” he said. “The expense of a security solution will be dwarfed by the final costs of this attack. Parents have the expectation that their children will be safe while at school or at after-hour activities such as sporting events and dances. And the argument that shootings, rapes, bullying, theft and vandalism can’t happen here just doesn’t hold water.”
While he said the district’s decision to move quickly to improve campus security was a good one, he urged them to make sure they install the right solution that will work best in the long run.
“Parents and students deserve more than a quick band aid approach,” Fiel said. “The school also needs a plan that involves teachers, parents, students and local law enforcement so that this type of event won’t happen again.”
-- PSW staff