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Central High School students protest over sexual assault allegations

Central High School in Louisville.
Jefferson County Public Schools
Central High School in Louisville.

Students at Central High School in Louisville staged a protest Wednesday morning over allegations the school’s administration is brushing off sexual assault accusations. 

Students say over the last several years, girls came to the administration with accusations of sexual assault by a particular male student. They say administrators dismissed and minimized their allegations.

Central High School junior Latisha Crawford said a group of students created an Instagram account where they’ve been collecting and sharing stories about sexual assault.

“We feel as young Black females in this building we have to speak up and say something because if we don’t say something, nobody will say something,” Crawford said on Instagram live from Central’s gym where she was gathered with dozens of other protesters.

Central is the district’s historically Black high school.

Students left class and went to the auditorium. An Instagram live broadcast shows several students shared their stories of sexual assault or spoke for others who wanted to remain anonymous. The school’s principal originally sanctioned the protest, but after an hour, administrators told students to go back to class. Many refused.

“When we asked for what she [the principal] was going to do to prevent stuff like this from happening, she had no answer, and just brushed it off and told us, ‘Thanks for sharing your stories, go back to class,’” one student said on Instagram live.

“Like, we knew what happened. What are you going to do to stop it happening again? That’s what we wanted,” the student said.

Security corralled students into the gym, according to protesters broadcasting on social media.

Jefferson County Public Schools spokesperson Mark Hebert said district security was sent to the school “to make sure no one was injured,” and that initially police were called to address “unruly” parents outside the school.

In an email to families shared with WFPL News, Central High School Principal Tamela Compton said the school is working “diligently” to create “‘safe spaces’ for students to be heard and report concerns.” She also said the school is “committed to addressing any confirmed disciplinary issues.”

“We are reviewing today’s disturbance and will work with students and families to address students’ actions,” the email reads.

News Youth Reporting
Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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