100ºF

'These kids did not want to be touched': Judson ISD investigating locker room incident

District calls incident bullying; parent believes it was sexual assault

SAN ANTONIO – School officials with the Judson Independent School District are investigating after members of the seventh-grade soccer team at Kitty Hawk Middle School said some eighth-graders rushed into their locker room Wednesday and touched them inappropriately.

"They began to inappropriately push them around, slapping them on their bottoms and all that sort of thing, and there was also a particular point where it got a little more personal than that," Judson Independent School District spokesman Steve Linscomb said. "Everybody still had their clothes on, just trying to poke them underneath their rear end."

Linscomb said the incident is being investigated as bullying. But, the parent of one of the seventh graders involved in the incident said they believe it was sexual assault. 

READ THE FULL DEFINITION OF BULLYING HERE

They said that their son described the incident as students trying to stick their fingers into other students' buttocks.

The Texas Education Agency defines sexual assault according to the Texas Penal Code, which defines the act, in part, as "(causing) the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means."

Linscomb said there was no penetration, saying "when you're fully clothed, that's pretty hard to do."

"I really think (school officials) downplayed it because it was boys on boys," the parent said. "If a girl was to be touched -- if my son would have touched a girl in that type of way -- then it would be handled differently, I believe."

READ THE FULL DEFINITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT HERE

KSAT is not identifying the parent due to the sensitive nature of the incident. 

Linscomb said that, so far, the district's investigation shows that there was "no sexual assault" and that "no crime was committed." He said he also understands parents' frustrations with the incident.

"It if were my child, I would be very upset about it as well," Linscomb said.

While Linscomb said parents were contacted the day the incident happened, the parent claims they weren't contacted by school officials until Friday afternoon and that the children practiced, played a soccer game and gave statements to school officials, all without their knowledge. 

"We didn't get a chance to do our job as a parent because they didn't notify us," the parent said. "And it took 48 hours for me to even talk to my kid about this. I don't know what he was going through for 48 hours in his head." 

The parent said they asked school officials whether the children were provided counseling after the incident and said the parent was told that the students were notified that school counselors would be available to talk, but were not assigned mandatory counseling.

"Even if it's not their fault, I think, in their mind, it is their fault," the parent said. "You talk to your kids about, 'If an adult touches you, or a teacher, or (if anyone) touches you inappropriately, you need to tell me.' And that's what I told him, and he was, like, 'Yes, but you never told me about another kid. You never told me another kid would do something like this.'"

The parent said they believe that, while the students were clothed, the incident falls under the umbrella of sexual assault or sexual contact. 

"These kids did not want to be touched," the parent said.

The parent said their son has been apprehensive about discussing the incident and feels that he and other students may be hesitant to be forthcoming with school officials due to possible ridicule.

"I hear the kids mention this all the time, that, 'Oh, you're gay. You're gay,'" the parent said. "I think that's a big part of why these kids are not openly telling their parents and the school what happened because if it gets around to the other kids, they would probably be labeled as gay."

Linscomb said that the district is looking into its policies about coach supervision, adding that it currently appears the coach was supposed to have been in the locker room and wasn't.

Editor's note: Judson ISD spokesman Steve Linscomb said Monday evening that there was only one student who attempted to put his fingers into another students' buttocks, according to the campus principal. Linscomb initially told KSAT 12 that there were multiple students who were victimized.