A public school in Harlem failed to protect an 8-year-old boy who was sexually assaulted by classmates. According to reports, the third grader who attends PS 194 was in the hallway after lunch when he was approached by a fifth-grader and two third graders. The fifth-grader, who was the ringleader, forced the boy in the restroom and made him get on his knees. As one of the kids held the boy’s arms behind his back, the students pulled their pants down and forced the third grader to perform oral sex on them.
Once the incident was over, the kids involved bragged to their friends of the attack. The boy ran and told a teacher who informed school officials. The fifth-grader received a 10-day suspension while the two third-graders received 8 days suspension. All three students were arrested
The victim’s mother is now suing New York’s Department of Education for $6 million for not protecting her son. The fifth-grade ring leader was once reprimanded for putting his hands inside the dress of a female student.
This incident is an example of how sexual abuse becomes pervasive. It’s highly likely that the fifth-grader has experienced some form of sexual abuse in the past. He is reenacting his traumatic experiences as a coping mechanism. In turn, his third-grade victim must receive counseling so that he is able to cope with being sexually assaulted.
The fifth-grader and his culprits must also receive counseling to ensure they have proper mental health in the future.
When it comes, to the Department of Education, they must do a better job at protecting students. There is no circumstance where elementary students should be left unintended during school hours.
At PS-194, there were 11 physical assaults at the school with weapons and five physical assaults without weapons in academic year 2010-11.