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Camden Hills Regional High School students walk out of class to protest alleged sexual assault

Students at Camden Hills Regional High School staged a walkout on Wednesday afternoon to protest how sexual assault is handled at their school

ROCKPORT, Maine — High schoolers in Rockport say they're not happy with the way their school is handling reports of rape and sexual assault. 

On Wednesday, students walked out of class to protest Camden Hills Regional High School's handling of these alleged incidents and called on administrators to take them more seriously.

During the demonstration, students spoke of their experiences. 

"As freshmen, we were told we need to stay away from certain types of people, what types of clothes we were safe in, what teachers we can trust," Carly Tibbetts said standing in front of a group of her peers.

Tibbetts and others are a part of a group called Valor Movement that organized a walkout on Wednesday afternoon to protest against the school's handlings of sexual assault cases between students.

Hazel Crabtree is one of the student organizers. She said she wants to change the system for not just herself and for her peers and others "so that when our siblings come here and generations after it's a better system and better community," she said.

Crabtree added that the administration hasn't done anything to protect the students who say they have been assaulted by a classmate. Principal Shawn Carlson said there's only so much the school can do because the police need to handle sexual assault cases first.

"Sometimes there's a delay in us understanding exactly what's happened," Carlson said.

He added that while the police conduct its investigation, the school can take other measures like moving students to different classrooms.

It's not all about change, though.

"It's also to make it so people have people to go to that know what they've been through, so it's honestly like a peer support kind of thing," sophomore Skye Ray said.

Carlson said there have been sexual assault allegations every year for the past few years and the school is working to make it a safer place.

"Our hope is to start those conversations with kids and to move past that frustration perhaps around that issue and focus," he said.

Student organizers say this is the first event of many in order to stop the silence for survivors in their school. 

If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual assault you can call 1-800-871-7741.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are resources you can reach out to for help, including: