Wakefield Students Again Protest School's Handling of Sexual Harassment Case

A male student accused of taking and posting inappropriate photos is due to return to Wakefield Memorial High School Monday after a 30-day suspension.

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Students and parents held another protest Monday morning over Wakefield Memorial High School’s handling of what they describe as sexual harassment.

The demonstration follows a protest that was held Friday, where signs the students held told part of the story.

Thirteen girls said they found hundreds of pictures of themselves online. Some were up-skirt photos and close-ups of their backsides. Some of the pictures were taken at school.

They said the pictures with their names attached were posted on an underground gaming app. The photos have since been taken down.

Students and parents planned another protest Monday morning over Wakefield Memorial High School’s handling of what they describe as sexual harassment.

Their classmate -- a junior who they said they once considered a friend -- is accused of taking and posting all of the photos. He was reportedly given a 30-day suspension. He was able to return to school on Monday but did not attend class. It remains unclear if or when he will return.

But even if he never returns, the alleged victims say the fact that he was allowed back is a problem. The girls in the photos said they do not feel safe with him in the building.

"It’s our administrators responsibility to make us feel safe in school and they are clearly failing at that," alleged victim Jenna Rossi said.

Parents plan to weigh in at a school committee meeting Tuesday. NBC10 Boston reached out to members of the committee for comment.

In a statement Friday, Wakefield School Superintendent Doug Lyons said administrators learned of an incident Oct. 11 involving a Wakefield Memorial High School student's "serious and inappropriate use of social media."

He said the school district "worked closely" with the families of the students impacted and are committed to continuing to provide them the support they need to move forward.

"The steps we’ve taken to address this behavior so far have aligned with our policies and procedures around student discipline, and we are working closely with the Wakefield Police Department to support law enforcement’s work related to this incident," Lyons said. "I am cognizant of the concern and frustration many in our community feel about this incident, but state and federal privacy rules place limits on how much we can share about this incident publicly. Still, I want to reassure all of our stakeholders that we are committed to working to ensure our students feel physically and emotionally safe in school."

Parents told NBC10 Boston that a police report has been filed and it is considered an open investigation.

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office has said it was notified of "an alleged incident" at Wakefield High School and have consulted with local police about the matter.

"As this involves juveniles, we are not able to comment further at this time," the district attorney's office said.

Students and parents were out Friday morning protesting Wakefield High School's handling of what they describe as sexual harassment.
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