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Berlin police investigated reported assault on transgender student at high school

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Posted at 8:46 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-06 11:14:23-04

BERLIN (NBC 26) — According to a statement released by the Berlin Police Department on Friday night, no physical assault took place at Berlin High School.

Here's the full statement from police:

On Thursday, November 4, 2021, a Berlin High School student reported to school authorities that they had been assaulted in one of the high school restrooms.

Upon being notified, School Administration immediately reported the allegation to the Berlin Police Department. An investigation was immediately launched into the allegation in cooperation with the department’s investigative unit. After multiple interviews and examining the associated evidence of the alleged assault, our investigation discovered no physical assault or attack against the alleged victim took place. During the course of the investigation, it was learned a recording may have been taken of the victim while in a bathroom stall. Anyone with direct information of this recording please contact the Berlin Police Department at 920-361-2121.

No additional information will be made available.
Berlin Police Department

Original story:

The Berlin Police Department and Berlin Area School District are investigating reports that a transgender student was allegedly assaulted at school.

Lucas, a transgender Berlin High School student who identifies as male, said he was assaulted in the school's bathroom on multiple occasions. On two separate occasions last week, the teen said several male students made him pull down his pants and lift up his shirt in the boy's bathroom. The most recent incident happened on Wednesday, according to the student, who said a group surrounded the stall while one person recorded a video through a slit in the door.

"I went back to my classroom crying and asked my teacher to see the counselor," Lucas said.

NBC 26 chose not to publish the teen's full name, because he's a minor involved in a police investigation. Lucas said he reported the incidents to the school and filed a police report.

"I was uncomfortable, scared. I didn't really want to walk around the hallways after that. I tried to ignore it, but it was hard. I finally spoke up to my friends about it, and now everybody knows about it."

Students staged a walkout Thursday at the school to support the student and express dissatisfaction with the district's response.

"I want to stand up for all those people that aren't able to voice what they need to say," said Jasmine Ramirez-Reyes, a Berlin High School student.

"We told them that we're not backing down this time. They're going to hear our voices and they're going to do something about it," said Amber Olmstead, a Berlin High School student.

Olmstead organized the walkout as a "silent, peaceful protest" outside the school. She said at least 50 students participated. Olmstead said she feels bullying is a big problem at school and wants to see change.

"We want students to feel safe at a school, because we're expected to be there. So we should be expected to be safe," Olmstead said. "At the end of the day they are the adults. We are children. I understand they can't control these students. They're their own person at the end of the day. But they need to at least try and prevent them from being able to do all of this."

Berlin Area School District superintendent Carl Cartwright sent the following statement to NBC 26 in regards to the incident:

The Berlin Area School District is aware of a student walkout in response to allegations of a student assault at the high school. The Berlin Area School District is committed to the success of all students in a safe learning environment and we take such allegations seriously. The school district is cooperating with local law enforcement who are investigating this situation. The district is also conducting its own investigation. Because of the ongoing investigations, the district is unable to provide additional details at this time.

Olmstead said students met with school officials Friday to discuss solutions and find ways to make the school more safe and inclusive. Olmstead said they'd like to eventually create a club to further achieve this goal.

Berlin police said this is an active investigation. NBC 26 waiting for a media release from police.