Parents, students concerned with how school handles harassment & bullying

Parents feel as if school officials are not keeping their children safe from bullying and sexual harassment at Warhill High School

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WVEC) -- Parents and students are demanding change at Warhill High School.

They're concerned with how school leaders handle harassment, assault, and bullying.

Lissa Ballard-Hunter and Andrea Chestney both say their kids are victims of bullying and sexual harassment at the school. They feel school leaders aren't rendering the proper consequences.

“How many nights do we need to cry over our kids,” Ballard-Hunter says. “We're not here just for our kids but we're here for kids that have gone through issues and gotten no assistance.”

A group of students posted flyers in school last month, spelling out their concerns about sexual harassment at the school. On June 1st, several students, including Ballard-Hunter's and Chestney's kids, walked out of school, speaking out against the alleged inaction from staff.


Betsy Overkamp-Smith, the Director of Public Relations for Williamsburg-James City Public schools, emailed 13News Now saying:

“Because the number of incidents resulting in disciplinary action is very small, I cannot provide you with a specific number of reported sexual assaults at Warhill High School. The threshold for reporting numbers is 10 or more to ensure that students cannot be readily identified. There have been significantly fewer than 10 at WHS this school year.”

Overkamp-Smith also wrote:

“In every instance, when an allegation of this nature is made, the school administration takes it seriously. As appropriate, a school, police or Title IX investigation is completed, and, again as appropriate, disciplinary action is taken for any student conduct code violations.”

“We want our kids to feel safe coming to school,” Chestney says. “Absolutely zero tolerance, it has to be that way.”

Over the past few weeks, Avalon Youth Services staff has provided several services at the school, including Awareness and Information Tables, Youth Leadership Council and Individual counseling.

Parents like Ballard-Hunter and Chestney say they want to see more programs where students and teachers can discuss these topics, but more importantly, they want to see a change.

“I want to know what they're saying is taken seriously, and not swept under the rug,” Ballard-Hunter says.

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