Francesca was sexually assaulted last summer in a local park. The perpetrator of this assault plead "no contest" to charges of sexual assault and abduction. He also turned out to be a classmate of hers at John Handley High School. In spite of a protection order, she still occasionally sees him.
Under Title IX, sexual assault, on or off premises, is covered under sexual harrassment protection. Francesca has missed many days of school, and is being revictimized by the school's denial of her Title IX claim. They say that hallway cameras have shown her smiling, so she must be okay. They say that her absences are due to academic stress, not her diagnosed PTSD and stress from seeing her assailant.
She has spoken clearly and bravely in front of the Winchester, VA City Council, and has been received with kindness. The Council has reached out to the superintendent, Jason van Heukelum, for clarity on the Title IX process. Other girls have left this district for similar reasons, and have spoken out in support of Francesca.
These girls do not deserve to be treated as pariahs because they were assaulted. They should be lauded for their bravery, and ability to self-advocate.
Please sign this petition to encourage the school board to overturn this denial, and let this girl attend her school without fear.
For more information, go to facebook.com/justiceforfrancesca