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Nottoway County mom says son was sexually assaulted at school

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 10:17 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2022 at 11:18 PM EST
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NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Nottoway County residents are disturbed after a county supervisor claims a sexual assault happened at a middle school, and no action was taken by school leaders.

During Monday’s school board meeting, the supervisor of District 2, John Roark, said Nottoway County Public Schools (NCPS) did nothing to address the incident which occurred in Oct. 2021.

January School Board Meeting

Monthly School Board Meeting

Posted by Nottoway County Public Schools on Monday, January 24, 2022

Nottoway Schools Superintendent, Dr. Tameshia Grimes, released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying they investigated in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Office.

The mother of the victim feels otherwise. Due to wanting to protect her son, she spoke with NBC12 anonymously. The mother said the last three months have been incredibly difficult, but she was not prepared for the amount of support that has rolled out in the last 24 hours.

“I know that makes my son feel good that people care that something horrible happened to him,” she said. “That it’s not going to stay under the rug like it never happened.”

The victim’s mom said it very well could have if Roark had not spoken out Monday about her son’s sexual assault.

“You have no way of knowing horrible acts like this happen if you’re not told,” Roark said. “I know for a fact, that most of you, if not all of you, were not told when it happened.”

In Oct. 2021, the victim’s mom said her son was sexually assaulted by another boy in a middle school classroom with a broom stick.

“The child fought to get away, while other children were high fiving and fist-bumping,” Roark said.

A statement from Superintendent Dr. Grimes said there was an investigation of the “alleged incident” in collaboration with the Nottoway County Sheriff’s Office.

However, school board member Clive Pettis, Sr., who represents District 3, posted his response to the superintendent’s statement on social media.

“I knew absolutely nothing about this until informed by John Roark that an assault had taken place months ago,” he wrote.

“This wasn’t just a simple someone got in a tussle, your child got popped in the mouth, we’re going to suspend so and so and so and so for five days,” the victim’s mom said. “This was an assault - a sexual assault - the board should have been notified.”

It was a School Resource Officer (SRO) who notified the mom about the incident. However, the following day, the victim’s mom said she was surprised to learn the assailant was back in the classroom.

“I spoke to the principal, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t think your son was going to be here today,’” she said the principal said. “What does that matter?”

The mom worked with the SRO to place charges against the boy, and in the end, she said he was convicted. Neither the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff, or Superintendent would confirm that conviction.

Now the mom is seeking changes.

“New people - new superintendent, new principal; people who actually care about the children,” she said.

Meanwhile, Pettis went on to say the superintendent’s official statement is not what she told board members during the executive session. During a brief phone conversation with him on Tuesday, Pettis said this incident, “feels like it’s being covered up.”

“It really breaks my heart it had to come to this, that I had to reach out and now it’s everywhere,” the victim’s mom said. “I’m glad it’s everywhere and parents know and understand, but they should have known a long time ago.”

Meanwhile, Roark has called on Grimes to resign from her position and/or have the school board terminate her contract.

Given Attorney General Jason Miyares’ impending investigation into the Loudoun County School Board for the assault that happened there, NBC12 reached out to his office for comment on the situation in Nottoway County. Messages were not immediately returned.

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