Protesters Gather Outside Coppell High School Against Alleged Sexual Assault of Student with Asperger's Syndrome

  1. Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
    Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
  2. Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
    Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
  3. Coppell High School principal Mike Jasso watches as a crowd protests outside of the school after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
    Coppell High School principal Mike Jasso watches as a crowd protests outside of the school after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
  4. Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
    Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
  5. Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
    Protesters gather outside of Coppell High School after an alleged sexual assault of a student with Aspergers' Syndrome on May 31, 2017. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)
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Posted 05/31/17, 9:55 AM

COPPELL (AM News Net)  –  A group of students and members of the public gathered outside of Coppell High School to protest this morning. The demonstration comes fresh off the heels of an alleged sexual assault of a student with Asperger's Syndrome in the school restroom.

News of the alleged incident went viral this week when a Facebook post was shared online. Dora Chavez wrote:

"For those who don't know, I have an 18 year-old cousin with Asperger's Syndrome, and he is set to graduate from Coppell High School next week. He lives in Dallas, Texas. I just found out my cousin was sexually assaulted in the bathroom of the school by three of his classmates. They cornered him in the bathroom. Two of the boys threatened to beat up my cousin and coerced him to pull down his pants. The other boy guarded the door to make sure no one else could enter while they sexually manipulated him."

The post says "everyone in school" saw images of the event when the alleged perpetrators posted pictures of it on Twitter and Snapchat. The post goes on to claim that the school did not want to punish the alleged perpetrators.

"However, no one in the school wanted to take action," the Facebook post says. "They're covering it up since those three boys are set to graduate next week and the school doesn't want to deal with it."

Details around the incident are still hard to come by, especially since the school is claiming they are unable to comment.  Ethan, a presumed student at Coppell, wrote in on Twitter, posting a six second Snapchat video that purportedly shows some of the incident. The video shows the alleged victim backed in a corner standing, with a caption that reads "Van made [VICTIM] do it. Man pulled his d*ck out."

AM News Net has decided not to list the name of the alleged victim.

The video however, does not appear to show a sexual assault in progress. Yesterday, the Coppell Police Department published a press release regarding the incident and interviews done with the parties involved and said that based on the facts presented, no criminal offense occurred.

"Based on those interviews with all parties and other evidence that was received it was determined that the incident in question did not meet the criteria for criminal charges," the release says.

Amanda McCone, responsible for communications and media relations to Coppell High School, said she would not be able to tell what the facts presented in the interviews were, if she even knew what they were, citing federal law,

"Even if I did [know], I wouldn't be able to tell you that," McCone said. "It's protected by federal law under FERPA."

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that prohibits educational institutions from releasing educational records of students. It is not clear how evidence in a criminal investigation or quotes made by students in an interview constitute an "educational record" that must be created and maintained by the school district to meet the definition of the statute.

In Owasso Independent School District No. I-011 v. Falvo, a Supreme Court case, the majority ruled unanimously that things created by students do not fall under the protection of FERPA because FERPA only applies to people acting on behalf of the educational institution.

It is also arguable that what went on in the interviews is not a tangible record.

"FERPA applies to the disclosure of tangible records and of information derived from tangible records. FERPA does not protect the confidentiality of information in general, and, therefore, does not apply to the disclosure of information derived from a source other than education records, even if education records exist which contain that information."  Dr LeRoy S. Rooker, head of the United States Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office wrote in 2006.

Nevertheless, while criminal charges may not be coming, it may still be possible for in-school disciplinary action.

McCone said she could not speak for the police department about their standards, but referred to the student code of conduct as to what constitutes action that could be disciplined within school.

"I do [know the standards of what could be disciplined within school]," she said. "It's in the student code of conduct."

The code of conduct says the school has the authority to act when  there is bullying, cyber-bullying, "Engaging in harassment toward another student or a District employee, official, or volunteer, including harassment motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or age," "forcing an unwilling person to act or not act or obtaining money or another object of value from an unwilling person through duress, threats, force, extortion, coercion, or blackmail," "Hazing, Horseplay,"  and "Inappropriate verbal, physical, or sexual contact toward another student or a District employee, official, or volunteer.

McCone explained she could not comment if the alleged perpetrators would walk at graduation.

While a clear verdict may not come out of the situation, the protesters still gathered, and focused on love and helping others overcome abuse. 

"Love strengthens all," the demonstrators chanted.

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