Floresville students stage walkout over handling of sexual assault allegations

FISD says it has “investigated all allegations of assault and has taken the appropriate action to address them”

Floresville – Dozens of chanting students poured out of Floresville High School Friday morning in protest of how allegations of sexual assault tied to the campus have been handled.

“The school’s denying it, the principal is denying it. People are trying to keep us quiet. Why are they trying to keep something like that quiet?” said one of the organizers, sophomore Nadia Villalobos.

The students chanted and held signs at the edge of school property for more than an hour before marching farther back onto the campus. Some briefly popped out of a school door a little later, indicating the students had likely returned to the building.

The district said in a statement Friday it has “investigated all allegations of assault and has taken the appropriate action to address them through the student code of conduct and with law enforcement.” The district did not include what the result of those investigations have been, but the statement also referenced “ongoing criminal investigations.”

The protest fell on the same day as Homecoming for the high school, and rather than wear the school colors, some of the protestors donned white T-shirts with red hand prints on them.

“Today was supposed to be a maroon outdated school to show school pride, and we ain’t going to do that. Instead, we’re showing like our pride for the victims, the people who are still here, people that are still walking,” Villalobos said.

The students weren’t alone. Parents and other supporters gathered at the edge of the school property, joining in with the chants.

“Our kids deserve to come to school -- and it makes me emotional -- to get an education and to be safe,” said Tyra Mosier.

While there had been rumors about what the school would do to the protestors, district spokeswoman Kim Cathey said the event was peaceful and the participating students would not be punished.

“I don’t know about an absence, but there won’t be any consequences. They’re not going to have disciplinary action,” including their extracurricular activities, she told KSAT at the protest

Floresville ISD released a statement about the protest on Friday afternoon, stating:

“Today, there was a protest at Floresville High School regarding the recent allegations of assault. The protest was peaceful and students were allowed to express their concerns. Campus administration met with FHS students to listen to their concerns and plan to continue this dialogue as we want to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students. FISD and campus administrators were present to ensure a peaceful and safe protest.

“The administration has investigated all allegations of assault and has taken the appropriate action to address them through the student code of conduct and with law enforcement. Once again, the district is unable to provide detailed information due to privacy laws and ongoing criminal investigations but be assured that we are taking this very seriously and anyone found in violation of the law will be prosecuted.

“The Floresville High School administration has spoken to numerous students and parents during the last week. We want our students to be heard and encourage students and parents to communicate openly with teachers, counselors, administrators as well as law enforcement and urge timely reporting of any concerns.

“We want to assure parents that the safety of our students is our top priority. The district will continue to promote a culture of respect and encourage students to report behavior contrary to that culture.”

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.