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Berlin police say student was not attacked at high school but seek information about bathroom recording

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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BERLIN, Wis. (WBAY) - Berlin police say its investigation found a student was not assaulted at Berlin High School, but they are asking for more information about a video recording of the student in a bathroom.

A transgender student reported he was sexually assaulted in the school bathroom, several times, in the past couple of weeks but was afraid to come forward right away. The police department says school administrators immediately notified them.

“After multiple interviews and examining the associated evidence of the alleged assault, our investigation discovered no physical assault or attack against the alleged victim took place,” a statement from the Berlin Police Department reads.

The allegations led a number of students to walk out of class on Thursday in protest. As we reported earlier Friday, according to the victim, male students have demanded he pull down his pants and lift up his shirt while in the boy’s bathroom. The most recent incident, according to the teen, was two days ago. He told us, “They were surrounding the stall door and one was recording through the peek hole, and they saw my bottom half and after that I stood in the stall crying.”

Police are asking anyone to call them at (920) 361-2121 if they have direct information about a recording in the bathroom.

Supporters of the transgender student, unsatisfied with the school’s response, staged a walkout the following day.

“We sat there for a while and we were trying to get our questions answered, and we were kind of getting blown off and they were trying to get us inside, but we wanted this to be public, we wanted people to see us, hear us,” says senior Amber Olmstead, who organized the walkout.

The school district is conducting a separate investigation.

In a statement to Action 2 News, Superintendent Carl Cartwright wrote, “The Berlin Area School District is aware of a student walkout in response to allegations of a student assault at the high school. The Berlin Area School District is committed to the success of all students in a safe learning environment and we take such allegations seriously. The school district is cooperating with local law enforcement who are investigating this situation. The district is also conducting its own investigation. Because of the ongoing investigations, the district is unable to provide additional details at this time.”

We learned school administrators met with concerned students Friday afternoon to try and come up with solutions for the school to be more welcoming and accepting.

Junior Autumn Peterson adds, “There’s been a big past of assault and homophobia in our school, and it just needs to come to an end.”

The school district had no additional comment beyond its previously released statement.

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