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Student says district did not address bullying concerns - abc27 WHTM

Student says district did not address bullying concerns

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Students in the Susquehanna Township School District say they're fed up with a "do nothing" administration, and are speaking out in the wake of allegations that top school leaders investigated an assistant high school principal four months before he was charged with having a sexual relationship with a student.

Shawn Sharkey, 45, turned himself in to police over the weekend and is now out on bail. According to police, Sharkey and the 16-year-old girl met in the school nurse's office in February and would have sex at area hotels on Tuesday and Thursday nights for several months.

During Monday night's packed school board meeting, Susquehanna Township Police Chief Rob Martin confirmed to abc27 News that his department is now looking into "who knew what and when" back in May, when the district admittedly looked into rumors about Sharkey and the student. The Dauphin County District Attorney's Office confirmed it is also involved in that investigation.

"You had an entire summer and the last couple of months of school to do something about it," 11th grader David Smith said. "When a student gets molested, sexually harassed or whatever by a principal -- and of all people a principal -- you take immediate action. You go to the police."

Smith said he is not surprised district administrators did not report the rumors to authorities right away. He said he's been the target of bullying in the schools for years.

"A student who stands out in the slightest way -- it could be good or bad -- you expect to be ridiculed at that school," he said.

Smith spoke at Monday's meeting, telling the school board his concerns went unaddressed when brought to principals at the high school. He also points to a total lack of discipline in the district.

"You can have a student get up and cuss another student out in front of another principal and they'll sit there and look at you like 'nothing just happened'," he said. "After school, you walk through the weight room, and I'll get called a (gay slur) in front of all of them -- loud enough for everybody to hear, and none of the adults say anything."

Smith said he believes the only way the schools can be turned around now is if a new school board is elected in November, and hires new administrators.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Kegerise and district solicitor Paul Blunt did not return calls for comment Tuesday afternoon.

 

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