Assault, hazing alleged at Lehighton middle school
An online petition started Thursday is requesting the Carbon County District’s Attorney investigate a recent alleged sexual assault and hazing incident at Lehighton Middle School.
According to the petition, which can be found on www.change.org and was started by Melissa Dieter, it is aimed at “making sure our children are safe at school.”
“Our kids should not fear going to school,” Dieter said in the petition. “We need to be the voice for our children. We need to step in as a community and get this sorted out.”
On Friday, the district released an updated statement regarding the investigation.
“The investigation is still ongoing and any additional information that has been received regarding the incident has been and will continue to be reviewed by the district,” Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver said. “The district considers any concerning allegation regarding students or staff with the utmost seriousness, and will complete a thorough investigation within the guidelines of the policy and procedures. The district continues to make every effort to assure all students and staff have a safe and healthy learning environment.”
Cleaver said previously, “The LASD Administration was forwarded information of an incident that involved several middle school students. Immediately after the administration was notified, Lehighton School Police were contacted, along the Lehighton Borough Police.”
Borough police chief Brian Biechy said the investigation was not complete.
Dieter wrote that she started the petition because, “a lot people come to me and say many different things, from one extreme to the other.”
“A lot of you feel as if someone, whether it’s the school/school board, teachers, coaches, local police, students and/or parents are hiding facts, blowing things out of proportion, lying, sweeping it under the rug, being threatened to keep quiet, etc.,” she wrote.
As of Friday afternoon, 200 people had signed the petition including Margaret Breiner.
“I’m signing this because I worry about my child’s safety,” Breiner said.
Even when the investigation is complete, Cleaver said, the amount of information able to shared publicly will likely be minimal.
“Again, policies regarding matters of student conduct and discipline protect the privacy of students records, and federal law limits when details related to student conduct investigations may be disclosed or shared with individuals,” he said. “The district will continue to gather and/or investigate any information that comes forward.”