ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – A Rochester City School District teacher said she was sexually assaulted by a student earlier this month at Franklin High School.
According to the president of the Rochester Teachers Association, district officials said the student had been suspended, but the district ultimately determined that she could not be held responsible for the incident due to her disability.
“I was disappointed with my workplace and again with my city” Corrine Mundorff wrote in a message dated October 21, “I have nowhere to go.”
According to Mundorff, she was preparing to teach an English class in high school when a 14-year-old freshman ran into her classroom and hid behind her desk.
âHe was clearly scared of something and came to my room because everyone knows my room is a safe place,â she wrote.
Mundorff said a student she had never seen before entered her room seconds later and started punching the freshman. She said that as they separated the students, the perpetrator ran out of the room and into the hallway.
âMy room is at the end of a hallway so I could only go in one direction,â she wrote, âthe same way the abuser just left. All I thought was was that I needed help.
Mundorff said the student turned and spat at her in the hallway, while dozens of other students watched. She said the student pushed her and spat more at her while others pulled out their phones to record the incident.
“I told them several times not to get a hold of me, to stop spitting on me, and that I was not following them, but that I was looking for safety,” Mundorff wrote. âI had my attacker on one side and a wall of students on the other.
It was then that Mundorff said she was sexually assaulted.
âMy abuser placed both hands on my breasts, stroked me for about 30 seconds, then pushed and spat on me,â she wrote. “They did it again, this time for at least a minute.”
Mundorff said there were “hundreds” of students watching at the time.
She said when a security guard arrived at the scene, they failed to hold the student, who Mundorff said hit her on the head several times. She said it sparked a big brawl between several groups of students.
âFortunately, a fellow teacher physically protected me and transferred me to the main office,â she wrote.
Mundorff said she called 911 at 12:20 p.m. She said no officer came to the school, so she went to the public security building at 3:00 p.m. She said she was unable to file a police report until 6 p.m.
She said that’s when the police told her, “Well, you know, you got the police out of the schools so …”
âSomehow, because my school board voted to remove the police from our schools, I was responsible for my own attack,â Mundorff wrote. “I am furious that I have been treated as a ‘less’ victim by the police because of things over which I have no control.”
Mundorff said she wrote about the incident after learning that the student involved would not be suspended.
âToday I decided that someone needed to hear my story. That I will not be denied basic human dignity in my workplace, âshe wrote.
Rochester Teachers Association president Adam Urbanski told News 8 the district said the student was initially suspended, until district officials ultimately decided she could not be held responsible. due to a disability.
District union leaders were lobby for increased security efforts in Rochester schools recently. Urbanski said the district had 14 pending resignations and 80 total resignations, mainly due to what he called unsafe environments in schools.
âWe’re not going to let them get away with this,â Urbanski said. “We’re concerned that in this volatile situation, it sends a message to other students that you can do whatever you want and get away with it.”
“I ask you to hear me, to hear the teachers when they call for help,” Mundorff wrote. “I have been sexually assaulted at work and I deserve to be heard.”
News 8 has contacted the Rochester City School District and the Rochester Police Department for comment. They did not immediately return a request for comment.
In an update Friday, Rochester Police Department officials confirmed that an investigation into the alleged incident was “very active.” RPD officials released a statement, saying in part:
âIt’s a very active business and the RPD is well under way. It is not our practice to discuss the details of an open and active case. There are many moving parts in this case and it will take a little longer to complete the investigation. We will keep the media informed as much as possible as it progresses. “
Rochester Police officials say the correct terminology regarding the investigation is “forced touching,” by letter of the law.
RCSD officials released the following statement on Friday afternoon:
âOn October 8, 2021, there was an altercation at Franklin High School involving a student and a teacher. As part of the disciplinary practice of the district, the student was entitled to due process and received it in accordance with the law. Following this process, the student was to return to school this week. We work with the teacher to provide support as the student returns to the school building. ”
RCSD Superintendent Dr Lesli Myers-Small released a statement Friday afternoon acknowledging the measures the district will be taking for the safety of students and staff.
The superintendent said the district was engaged with the mayor’s office as well as the Rochester Police Department, to discuss help needed to meet short and long-term security goals. She also said the district is asking for additional school safety officers (SSOs), counselors, social works and other socio-emotional support resources.
Statement from the Director of the RCSD on School Safety
“I come to you in this week’s video post to talk about the steps the district is taking to address concerns about school safety and socio-emotional health.
We have seen an increase in acts of violence occurring inside and outside our schools, some of which have taken place on our campuses. One of my roles as a superintendent is to help keep our students and staff safe. I am more and more concerned about security and I want you to know that I do not take it lightly.
Speaking with my colleagues from across the country, many shared similar concerns about an increase in violence in their schools and communities. I have been addressing the issue of violence and how it affects our students since the start of this year. Our schools are affected directly and indirectly, and it is our responsibility to ensure that mechanisms are in place to provide a safe learning space for all.
I want you to know that we have ongoing conversations with many different groups. My team and I are listening to concerns raised by the Board of Education, parents, students, staff and union leaders, and we are working in partnership with all to find solutions together. I also receive daily briefings from our Director of School Safety and Security to get an idea of ââthe number, nature and type of incidents that occur in our schools.
We also engaged the Mayor and the Rochester Police Department to discuss how they can help us in the short and long term. With the number of threatening and violent incidents increasing, it is imperative to include them in the conversation and educate themselves on what they are seeing in our neighborhoods. This week, they are assisting us during check-in and check-out hours in some of our schools. I do not recommend the return of School Resource Officers (SROs) to schools. However, it is important that we continue to seek long-term solutions that will help keep everyone safe.
We are calling for additional school safety officers (SSOs), counselors, social workers and other socio-emotional supports with federal government funding set aside to meet the needs of students in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, our Head of Human Capital is working to address our current staffing shortages and implement recruiting strategies. If each of us is recruiting for a position, we can have an impact on our staff shortage.
Our children are suffering and some of their behaviors are becoming difficult. Far too many of our students experience trauma every day. The violence around us must stop and we must work together to find solutions. I am extremely grateful to the members of our staff who come into our schools every day to ensure that our students have a place where they are educated, nurtured and loved. I realize that several days can be difficult and I assure you that together we will find a solution to this problem. Our students need us more than ever. We all need to register and connect with them because we know the effects of the pandemic continue to affect us all. “
Interview with Corrine Mundorff
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
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