Note: Graphic language is used in the video and article below.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Parents with children who attend Jeffco Public Schools say the culture of inappropriate touching described in a recent federal lawsuit against the district is occurring at other schools too.
“It’s become a problem that girls don’t even want to address,” said Dawn Schiermeyer, a mother of two girls who attend schools in the district.
A lawsuit filed last week makes a variety of allegations, including that the district failed to prevent a long-standing culture of “Titty Touch Tuesday” and “Slap Ass Friday” at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge.
In a letter sent to Everitt families on Monday, the school principal said the district's legal team “reviewed the factual allegations (made in the lawsuit) with the individuals closest to the matter and have determined most of the allegations, if not all of them, have no merit.”
The school also told parents, “be assured that Everitt staff are committed to providing a safe learning environment where all students are treated with dignity and respect.”
The district’s chief legal counsel, Craig Hess, recently told the FOX31 Problem Solvers that he had not previously heard of allegations related to inappropriate touching on campus.
“My hope is that while they’re publicly denying this that they are privately investigating this,” said Milo Schwab, the attorney who filed the lawsuit.
Schiermeyer said both of her daughters were aware of these behaviors at their schools. Her youngest attends Everitt Middle School and her eldest, Xyla Drohman, who is now in 10th grade, attended Bell Middle School in Golden.
“Slap Ass Friday happened every Friday that I can remember in middle school,” Drohman told her mom in a voice message. “I just remember that every Friday, a guy would come up to me and smack my ass, thinking it was a game. Or, if it wasn’t that, they’d come up and slap my tit and call it 'bean dip'."
Another mother, Heather Anderson, told the FOX31 Problem Solvers that her daughter attended Everitt Middle School during the 2018-2019 school year and witnessed students spanking each other in the hallways. Her daughter never saw boys touching breasts.
“I hope that more girls will come forward,” said Schwab. “I hope that more parents will speak with their daughters and speak with their sons and that more people will come forward to say that this was happening to them or -- hopefully not -- but maybe still is happening in our schools so that we can bring it out into the open and we can seek to address it.”
“I think we as parents need to take responsibility for both our boys and girls and sit them down and tell them that, ‘Hey! This is how we act. This is how we don’t act. Respect each other,’” Schiermeyer said. “If there is something going on, (the district leaders) need to address this issue. They need to curtail what is going on, and if it’s classes or whatever that needs to happen so they all can realize what respect is and personal body space, then that’s what needs to happen. And it’s probably not going to be pretty, but it’s something that has to be done.”
The lawsuit also alleges that boys would hold the anonymous plaintiff against a wall or locker and put their hands “up her shirt and inside her bra.” They would also put their hands “inside her pants, under her underwear, and (touch) her vagina, and inside the vaginal lips, laughing and continuing when she said no and cried,” the complaint said.
The girl claimed she was later pulled out of classes with the boys to avoid conflict while the boys were permitted to take their finals.