Middleton students protest alleged sexual assault, harassment

MIDDLETON (WKOW) — Students at Middleton High School were making sure their voices were heard Monday morning. They held a peaceful protest about sexual assault and harassment at the high school and within the community.

“I want to feel like I’m being heard, I want my sister who is a freshman to feel safe here the next three and a half years of school,” said Middleton High School senior Grace Madigin. “At this point, that’s not happening.”

Madigin spoke at the protest about her experiences with sexual assault, which started when she was a freshman.

“A really close friend of mine asked me for nudes and he threatened to kill himself when I said no. I went to administration the next day,” she said.

Madigin says she felt administrators didn’t do anything about it at the time.

“That kid asked me for nude pictures again a couple months later,” Madigin said.

She said similar problems still continue.

“I was walking down the hallway two weeks ago and I was whistled at,” she said. “These boys were saying ‘add me on Snapchat’, ‘look at that you know what’, it was horrible.”

The protest was organized on social media in less than 24 hours.

Porsha Hanifl’s post about the protest also asked students for their stories of sexual assault.

“People kept on coming out with their stories and just kept giving us more and more information on things that had happened to them,” Hanifl said.

She gathered those stories together and bound it in a book.

“We kept it anonymous and blurred out their names but didn’t blur out their assaulters’ names,” Hanifl said.

She gave that book to administration.

“We’re trying to work through that and we want to understand. We’re reading all of the information that came in,” said Principal Steve Plank.

Principal Plank says they do look into every complaint that is brought to the administration, but sometimes because the students are minors they may not be able to see the actions that are taken.

“It can be really, really tricky when a student might say nothing happened, it may be that they don’t know what happened, and it may be that we aren’t able to share the detail,” he said.

Principal Plank says the school does support the students in their protest.

“What our students are doing is they’re self advocating and they’re bringing their voice up and when we let that happen, we hear more about what’s going on behind the scenes and that helps us create a better climate within the school,” he said.

Principal Plank says he wants the school to be a safe place and he wants to work with students to help bring about the change they’re looking to create.

More on this story at WKOW 27 News

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