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New outrage after TX school officials call child sex abuse claims ‘mutual’

May 12, 2023

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The Plainview Independent School District released new details on Wednesday, May 20, after reports of sexual misconduct among first graders at South Elementary left parents demanding answers. The Plainview ISD statement contradicted the account of Heather Gonzales, the cousin of the 6-year-old girl who says she was sexually assaulted by a classmate. 

According to Gonzales, the little girl was forced to perform a sexual act on another student under a desk, while other students cheered it on and a third student filmed it on a school-issued iPad.

According to Plainview ISD, the incident occurred outside the teacher’s vision. The teacher has been an educator for 39 years. But the main reason the story went viral is because the family says it was not notified immediately after the alleged assault, and the family has yet to see the video. 

In the statement released May 10, school officials are disputing Ms. Gonzales’ accounts. 

According to the school district, authorities who reviewed the video determined that a sexual assault did not occur, rather “mutual inappropriate sexual contact” occurred between two 6-year-old students. 

“It’s disgusting. When I first read this statement, excuse me, when I first read this statement, it was really hard to read,” said Nadine Rodriguez, who fought back tears as she talked about pulling her second grader out of South Elementary on May 4.

The mom of three says she refuses to send her son back to Plainview ISD. 

“I see these children as they are, babies. And there’s no such thing as mutual sexual contact. I don’t care if you put ‘inappropriate’ in between those words. There is no such thing as mutual sexual contact for children. They’re trying to put the word mutual to replace the word consent because legally you cannot consent to sexual contact as a child and they’re trying to put that word in there to make it seem that is not as big of a deal as it is, that it’s something that just happened. It does not. Let me be very clear, this is assault,” Rodriguez said.

In the same statement, Plainview ISD said the incident was “brief” and only lasted 34 seconds, with no “outcry for help or struggle.”

“They just said to this little girl, they told her, your body is not your own. And what happened to you, you let happen. That’s what they told that little girl when they made that statement, and that’s disgusting. They made a point to say that it was a 34 second incident. But that’s not entirely true. The incident was recorded. So they’re going by a video. Now, we don’t know what happened before the video and we don’t know what happened after the video. And the fact that they won’t even show the parents and the family this video, it kind of goes to the point where they’re trying to protect themselves and they’re not trying to protect this girl,” Rodriguez said. 

“I would consider 34 seconds of contact between two 6-year-olds to be more sexual contact between 6-year-olds than ever needs to occur,” Alex Driggars said. Driggars is the government and public policy reporter at the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. He has been covering the story since it broke in April. 

“I’ve got a lot of Facebook friends from Plainview. And I’ve seen a lot of outrage on both sides. There are people saying, ‘wow, the school district is just continuing and covering up, the school district is continuing to lie.’ There are other people saying ‘wow, the truth is finally coming to light. You know, the facts are finally here. And all of the speculation that people have been circulating on social media is now proven wrong.’ So there are people on both sides that are upset.”

Driggars says tensions in Plainview have died down over the past few days, but he expects a new wave of protests at the school board meeting being held on Thursday, May 18. 

“You know, I’m not one to say that they did it wrong, or that they did it completely wrong, that they didn’t do things correctly. But a lot of people in town feel like that’s the case. A lot of people are upset with the way that the school district has handled this. But, you know, the school district feels like they did everything that they were supposed to do in this case,” Driggars said.

In the latest release to Plainview ISD families on May 11, the school district praised its staff for showing up for its students on Wednesday, May 10, after shutting its doors for two days amid security threats that were possibly linked to the incident.

A 15-year-old male from the next county over was arrested for terrorism on the same day. The release shows 18 teachers were absent on Wednesday, May 10. That number fell to 14 on May 11.

“Plainview ISD faculty and staff demonstrated, once again, why they set the standard in education. Plainview ISD truly appreciates the parents in our community who trusted that we had safety and security in place for their children on Wednesday,” the statement read.

There was no mention of the ongoing investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Straight Arrow News reached out to the family of the 6-year-old girl to get their reaction to the Plainview ISD statement contradicting the family’s account. Straight Arrow News has not heard back, but will continue to follow this story.

“And for this family, all we can do is support them, and continue fighting for them. And not just for this little girl, but for all these kids here. If it’s not your kid, this time, there’s no guarantee it won’t be next time. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. We’re trying to protect all these kids,” Rodriguez said.

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THE PLAINVIEW INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT RELEASED NEW DETAILS ON WEDNESDAY AFTER REPORTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AMONG FIRST GRADERS AT SOUTH ELEMENTARY LEFT PARENTS DEMANDING ANSWERS. 

 

THE PISD STATEMENT CONTRADICTED THE ACCOUNT OF HEATHER GONZALES, THE COUSIN OF THE SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO SAYS SHE WAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BY A CLASSMATE. 

 

ACCORDING TO GONZALES, THE LITTLE GIRL WAS FORCED TO PERFORM A SEXUAL ACT ON ANOTHER STUDENT UNDER A DESK, WHILE OTHER STUDENTS CHEERED IT ON AND A THIRD STUDENT FILMED IT ON A SCHOOL-ISSUED IPAD. ACCORDING TO PLAINVIEW ISD, THE INCIDENT OCCURRED OUTSIDE THE TEACHER’S VISION. A TEACHER WHO’S BEEN AN EDUCATOR FOR 39 YEARS. BUT THE MAIN REASON THIS STORY WENT VIRAL, IS BECAUSE THE FAMILY SAYS THEY WERE NOT NOTIFIED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ALLEGED ASSAULT, AND THEY’VE YET TO SEE THE VIDEO. 

 

NOW, SCHOOL OFFICIALS ARE DISPUTING MS. GONZALES’ ACCOUNTS. 

 

ACCORDING TO PISD, AUTHORITIES WHO REVIEWED THE VIDEO DETERMINED THAT A SEXUAL ASSAULT DID NOT OCCUR, RATHER, “MUTUAL INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL CONTACT” OCCURRED BETWEEN TWO 6-YEAR-OLD STUDENTS. 

 

NADINE RODRIGUEZ | CONCERNED PARENT: “It’s disgusting. When I first read this statement, excuse me, when I first read this statement, it was really hard to read.”

 

NADINE RODRIGUEZ JUST PULLED HER SECOND GRADER OUT OF SOUTH ELEMENTARY. SHE SAYS SHE WON’T BE SENDING HIM BACK TO THE PLAINVIEW ISD. 

 

RODRIGUEZ: “I see these children as they are, babies. And there’s no such thing as mutual sexual contact. I don’t care if you put ‘inappropriate’ in between those words. There is no such thing as mutual sexual contact for children. They’re trying to put the word mutual to replace the word consent because legally you cannot consent to sexual contact as a child and they’re trying to put that word in there to make it seem that is not as big of a deal as it is that it’s something that just happened. It does not. Let me be very clear, this is assault.”

 

IN THE SAME STATEMENT, PISD SAID THE INCIDENT WAS “BRIEF” AND ONLY LASTED 34 SECONDS WITH NO ‘OUTCRY FOR HELP OR STRUGGLE’. 

RODRIGUEZ: “They just said to this little girl, they told her, your body is not your own. And what happened to you, you let happen. That’s what they told that little girl when they made that statement, and that’s disgusting. They made a point to say that it was a 34 second incident. But that’s not entirely true. The incident was recorded. So they’re going by a video. Now, we don’t know what happened before the video. And we don’t know what happened after the video. And the fact that they won’t even show the parents and the family this video, it kind of goes to the point where they’re trying to protect themselves and they’re not trying to protect this girl.”

 

ALEX DRIGGARS | LUBBOCK AVALANCHE JOURNAL REPORTER: “I would consider 34 seconds of contact between two six year olds to be more sexual contact between six year olds than ever needs to occur.”

 

ALEX DRIGGARS IS A REPORTER WITH THE AVALANCHE JOURNAL OUT OF LUBBOCK. HE’S BEEN FOLLOWING THE INVESTIGATION. 

 

DRIGGARS: “I’ve got a lot of Facebook friends from Plainview. And I’ve seen a lot of outrage on both sides. There are people saying, Wow, the school district is just continuing and cover up the school district is continuing to lie. There are other people saying wow, the truth is finally coming to light. You know, the facts are finally here. And all of the speculation that people have been circulating on social media is now proven wrong. So there are people on both sides that are upset.”

 

DRIGGARS SAYS TENSIONS IN PLAINVIEW HAVE DIED DOWN OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS, BUT HE EXPECTS A NEW WAVE OF PROTESTS AT THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING  ON THURSDAY NEXT WEEK.

 

DRIGGARS: “I think that there wouldn’t be protests. And there wouldn’t be people that are upset if the school district did things correctly.”

 

RODRIGUEZ: “And for this family, all we can do is support them, you know, and continue fighting for them. And not just for this little girl, but for all these kids here. If it’s not your kid, this time, there’s no guarantee it won’t be next time. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. We’re trying to protect all these kids.”

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