A 15-year-old student has been suspended for bullying after she posted notes in the school bathroom claiming there was a rapist at the school.
Aela Mansmann left two seperate anonymous sticky notes in the female restrooms at Cape Elizabeth High School in the US state of Maine that read “There’s a rapist in our school and you know who it is”.
Talking to NBC, the student said sexual assault in the school was “common knowledge” and she felt it was important to warn other students.
The two original notes allegedly sparked other students to post similar notes.
Aela told NBC that allegations of sexual assault in the school have been ignored for years by staff and said students don’t feel safe on campus.
"On a day-to-day level we don't feel believed," she said.
Officials at the high school told NBC they are required to investigate all claims of bullying and were satisfied with the result of incident – a three day suspension for the teenager.
Cape Elizabeth Superintendent Donna Wolfrom told the media outlet she felt the allegations about the alleged rapist could have been handled better by students.
"I think there is a proper way to do it," she said.
The officer claimed the notes left by students “caused a lot of confusion” and police spent “a lot of time investigating”.
"It makes me angry that I'm being punished for bullying and a rapist isn't being punished for raping people," Aela told NBC on Friday.
The school released a statement after Aela’s story gained media attention that stated the school was following protocol.
“Cape Elizabeth schools has never disciplined a student for advocating for their peers or their views on cultural, social and political matters,” the statement read.
"It is important to understand, however, that when a student’s speech bullies another student, we are required by law and by school board policy to investigate and take prompt action.”
Aela told Buzzfeed she was confused at the claims of bullying as she hadn’t named the student and other notes had referred to more than one “rapist”.
“This person self-identified feeling targeted, so the school took steps to suspend me versus further investigating that self-identification,” Aela said.
According to NBC, high school administrators asked 49 of the 600 attending students if they felt safe at school, with all 49 reporting they did.
Buzzfeed reported that Aela is appealing the suspension with the support of her parents but the student feels she did the right thing.
“What I wanted to happen through those sticky notes was acknowledgement this is not our first attempt to have a conversation with the school administration,” she told local media The Press Herald.
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