Austin Middle School Student Arrested For Allegedly Groping Classmates - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Austin Middle School Student Arrested For Allegedly Groping Classmates

Holly Shelton, AISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton, AISD Spokeswoman
Ashley Cox,  Family Support Services Counselor Ashley Cox, Family Support Services Counselor
Julie Sims, Austin Middle School parent Julie Sims, Austin Middle School parent

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - A middle schooler is in juvenile custody, accused of indecency with a child after three classmates say he groped them.

The 12 year old boy is a student at Austin Middle School and is being held at the Youth Center of the High Plains.

This apparently all started when a 13 year old girl went to her liaison officer at the end of the school day on Monday and told him the boy had put his hands on her legs and thighs and rubbed them.

Police say she said she was not the only one who had been touched, and that led to two other girls, ages 12 and 13, saying the boy had grabbed their breasts.

The school district says disciplinary actions are underway.  AISD Spokeswoman Holly Shelton says, "there will be a hearing where the parents, the student, and administrators are all involved and share their sides of the story, and the punishment or discipline is determined."  That punishment could include suspension.

Shelton says counseling was provided for the students involved and their parents were notified.

As for the rest of the student body, no letter or any kind of notification went out to their parents.

One advocate says this happens way too often.

Family Support Services Counselor Ashley Cox says, "it happens more than you realize. Six out of ten students report experiencing some sort of physical sexual harassment during their school years."  In fact, Cox says seventh grade is when it happens the most.   She adds harassment victims could be reluctant to come forward for fear of retaliation from the perpetrator, students, or the school.  She also says victims could experience anxiety or depression.

To parents, Cox says if their daughters start wearing baggy clothing, want to avoid school more than usual, start getting bad grades, or have nightmares, they could have been harassed.

Despite what is going on now, Julie Sims, an Austin Middle School parent, says "I'm really quite pleased with the way they handled it and I'm also quite pleased the students felt comfortable enough to go to the proper authorities, the teachers the staff to say something inappropriate happened to me."  Sims says she has had children in the school for almost a decade, and believes this kind of incident is rare.

We want to know what you think.  If this student did what he is accused of, should he be punished, and if so what should his punishment be?  You can participated in the interactive poll on this page to tell us.

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