Last week, students at Grant High School anonymously taped up posters accusing five boys of sexual assault and inviting classmates to add more names to the list of "sexual predators in the hallways."
The signs were taped up in girls' bathrooms at the school's temporary location in Southeast Portland, WW has learned from a student who did not want to be named.
When administrators found out about the signs, they quickly removed them and sent an email to parents on Friday afternoon.
"It has come to our attention that signs were posted in some of our restrooms making accusations of a very serious nature against specific students, by name," administrators wrote in an email sent by the principal's secretary, Susan Davis. "These signs were also photographed and then distributed via social media posts. As an administrative team, we work to ensure all students feel safe at Grant High School. These signs—singling out members of our community—make many students, not just those listed, feel unsafe at school."
The signs created by students mark a new approach by students who feel that Portland Public Schools has not done enough to protect them from sexual violence committed by their classmates.
That backlash emerged last year at Cleveland High School where, The Oregonian reported, administrators did little to address rape and harassment allegations, saying the district's policies prevented them from doing more. Last year, students demanded PPS adopt better policies for handling allegations of sexual assault, including crafting a clear process for investigating allegations and empowering the Title IX coordinator to do more to oversee such investigations.
But school administrators were alarmed last week by the actions of Grant students—which named people as sexual predators who have never been charged with a crime.
The administrators' email encouraged parents or students who have "an issue or concern about something that has happened at Grant High School or is impacting your student's ability to feel safe at school" to contact administrators, file a Safe Oregon report (an online tip-line to report safety threats at schools), or contact Portland police if an incident occurred outside of school.
The response did not mention sexual assault directly, nor did it describe the nature of the allegations. The message also did not mention any resources for victims of sexual violence.