Hundreds of students at a Massachusetts high school walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest how school administrators have handled allegations of sexual assault.
The walkout at North Andover High School comes after a senior, Eliezer Tuttle, was charged with raping a New Hampshire girl twice on the same day and amid reports from The Eagle Tribune that school administrators had placed Tuttle on probation in connection with an assault against a classmate in April 2018.
School administrators also reportedly had accusers sign contracts sign so-called "Safety Plans" that require the students reporting assaults to stay away from the alleged perpetrators.
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Five-hundred students who thought the policy was fundamentally unfair decided three days ago to organize the walkout, which started at 10:07 a.m.
"I've been in the school system for 12 years, and I think there needs to be a change on the way that this school handles situations like this. This isn't a minor thing, it's huge, and it happens to people every day and the school just has a tendency to sweep these kinds of things under the rug and it needs to stop," student organizer Ava Gilboard said.
"We are very disappointed in our school system for that," fellow student organizer Lexi Regan said, who added that the students' goal was to supporting survivors and asking for change in policies.
North Andover Superintendent of Schools Gregg Gilligan released a statement saying: "I understand the concern parents have when it is reported that one of our high school students has been charged with a crime. I want to assure you that the safety and well-being of our students drive every decision we make and every action we take as a district."