Parents outraged about "game of tag" at Lawrence Twp. school
A Lawrence Township elementary school suspended three boys for what they call a "game of tag gone wrong."
Administrators say the boys inappropriately touched at least eight girls at Crestview Elementary at 71st Street and Hague Road. But angry parents say the boys' punishment is not enough.
There two very different stories about what happened at the school.
Lawrence Township Schools spokesperson Mary Louise Bewley says, "They are 10- and 11-year-old children and they saw it as a game. When they referred to it, they referred to it as a game."
"How can it be a game when someone is pinning you to the ground, spreading your legs apart?" asked one girl's mother.
She says the boy then simulated a sex act on her daughter.
She says her fifth-grade daughter and five other girls were victimized by an aggressive fifth-grade boy who threatened, if they reported it, to "either shoot you or me and my friends are going to beat you."
But some girls did tell their parents and some called police.
"I'm very concerned he had to see something like that," said Cheri Mickelsen.
Her son witnessed that incident in the library, where the girl was allegedly pinned to the floor and confirms it. She feels the school moved too slowly.
"You need to act first to protect the children and ask the questions later. The fact, from what I'm being told, it took so long for action to take place is very troubling," she said.
"We don't think it's child's play," said Bewley.
The school says it called Child Protective Services right away. It says most incidents were more like games of tag - touching on the buttocks, then running away laughing.
"Inappropriate touching will bring consequences to the children," said Bewley. "But we also want to be aware that these are young children who are changing developmentally and the best way to help them is to help them understand what the changes mean and how to appropriately deal with the changes."
"I haven't been able to sleep, I have been sick to my stomach. This is all I think about," said the mother of one of the girls.
The district says any delays were delays in reporting the incidents.