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Supervision at Douglas S. Freeman High School increased after 2 students assaulted

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 12:24 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 12:44 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Administrators at a Henrico high school are making changes to morning drop-off routines after two students were reportedly assaulted.

On Oct. 1, the principal at Douglas S. Freeman High School emailed parents about the situation that occurred on campus Thursday, Sept. 30.

A parent forwarded that email to NBC12 sharing information about the reported incidents.

“Before the start of the school day, two students walking on our campus from the parking lot were victims of separate incidents of inappropriate sexual contact against their will,” wrote Principal John Marshall. “We believe they were victims of the same assailant.”

“Super scary because my daughter comes here and a lot of things can happen,” said parent Silvana Aquino.

According to Henrico Police, a HCPD school resource officer (SRO) was alerted about the two assaults just before 9 a.m.

“It could happen to anyone and that’s why I can’t even imagine how they would have reacted,” said Katreen Gaber, whose brother goes to Freeman.

According to Marshall, the students immediately told their school counselors who reported it to administrators and the school resource officer.

“I am very proud of our students for reporting this right away — their quick action may have prevented more incidents from occurring and their courage to speak out against this act is a model for their peers.”

“That’s honestly a really great way to react, they did what they had to do,” Gaber said. “Now they can keep caution for other people.”

Marshall added administrators were working with the school counseling team, parents and resources within the school system to support the students.

“This type of action on our campus (or anywhere) from students or those in our community is obviously abhorrent, a crime, and will not be tolerated,” Marshall said. “I am crushed that this happened on our campus under my watch and remain committed to the safety and well-being of our students.”

For the time being, the school has increased staff supervision in the mornings as students arrive on campus. Marshall added administrators are also evaluating the supervision plan for the morning drop-off time to see how they can prevent this in the future.

Henrico Police describe the suspect as a male, 5′8″, dark colored hair and was wearing a facemask. The person was wearing all black and was described as having a pink backpack.

However, at this point, there is no official word on whether he was a student or someone in the community given the open parking lot.

“It’s easily accessed by anybody,” Gaber said.

“I would like to have more secure because they don’t know who came in, anybody can get in that easy,” Aquino added.

A spokesman for HCPD said officers are working closely with Henrico Schools to investigate these incidents to apprehend the person responsible.

Anyone with information may contact SRO O’Dell at (804) 501-5000. Anonymous tips may also be provided by calling Crime Stoppers (804) 780-1000 or online at P3tips.com.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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