WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Halloween party at Gladeville Middle School in Wilson County left some parents upset after they received emails saying a few female students reported to administrators that they had been inappropriately touched.
“We’re left with figuring out how did this all start,” Bart Barker, a spokesman for Wilson County Schools said, adding that all he can confirm is that it started with a dance and ended with disarray.
“About the last 15 minutes things spiraled in a whole other direction, largely through word of mouth, social media, through text, through claims something’s happening and that set the admin and SROs in motion to play catch up to say ‘wait a minute. Everything we’ve seen so far has seemed normal,” Barker said.
However, according to an email sent to parents Thursday night, something out-of-the-ordinary was reported.
That note, saying in-part:
Good Evening, Parents,
Tonight, our Halloween Dance had a great start and a very rough finish. Our administrators and SRO were approached by a few female students who reported they had been touched on the dance floor by an unknown student or students. No students or bystanders have been able to confirm the identity or give a specific description of who might have done this. We spoke to several students and will be investigating what they did report and will be watching camera footage to see if we can find any evidence. We also ask that if one of your children experienced this and did not report it, that they come meet with any administrator, counselor or Officer Bowen in the morning. In situations such as this, it is easy for rumors to circulate. Please be mindful that students might report things to you that are unsubstantiated or are the product of hearsay. We take our students’ safety and wellbeing seriously and will investigate this situation thoroughly and apply the Code of Conduct as appropriate.
A mother, who asked to not be identified, said her sixth grader is distraught and left the dance bawling.
“My daughter was one of the sixth grade girls that had her skirt pulled down below her butt cheeks,” the mother wrote. “She was also beside the child who got her costume ripped up the back and with the girl who had her dress pulled down with her bra and it showed her full chest.”
According to the girls, it didn’t stop there, but as this mom knows, sometimes word of mouth can get out of hand.
“I told them ‘you were not there to see it,’ I just want them to know how rumors get started,” she said.
That’s exactly what the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and school district is trying to straighten out. What’s fact here and what’s fiction?
“By no means are we taking this lightly at all because we’re not. We want to look at this incident whatever how this all started last night and make sure were getting the pieces of info we need to do a thoroughly investigation,” Barker said. “I know that lots of video has been looked at trying to substantiate any claim that’s been out there that’s been very difficult to find up to this point, but rest assured if there is inappropriate behavior that is taking place at any of our functions, events, extra curriculars, we will find out.”
Barker now urges those who may have experienced something Thursday night and did not report it to talk to an administrator, counselor or SRO Officer Bowen.
At last check, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has had no criminal charges filed to them and none of the original claims have merit. The investigation continues.