Sexual assault investigation in Philadelphia high school

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An investigation is underway into a reported sexual assault at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia.

Police and school officials say a 14-year-old freshman girl reported being sexually assaulted inside a stairwell on Friday afternoon around 3:10, right after dismissal.

Her alleged attacker is a fellow freshman boy. He has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

Students and parents were stunned to hear of the allegations.

"It's crazy," junior Rashini Phillips told Action News. "I don't expect anything like that."

"I'm scared to go to school," said senior Destini Lee. "I want to switch schools. I can't do this. I'm scared."

There are surveillance cameras inside and outside the school, but none captured the alleged incident in the stairwell - just the moments before and after the girl says it happened.

"There is surveillance of the two students in question walking down the hallway, exiting the building," said Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard. "That's what we provided to Philadelphia Police, and that's what they are using for the investigation."

Students say while the hallways are flooded with students and teachers when the bell rings, people tend to rush out.

"It's a lot of exits," said senior Mitchell Hudgins. "A lot of people go different ways when they're leaving. Everybody clears out quick."

The victim is being offered support, and there are counselors and psychologists on hand for the rest of the student body as well.

"There is always support for students if there's stress," Gallard said. "Any issue - if they feel unsafe in neighborhood, or feel stress about the school environment."
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