Students work to promote neighboring district protest


Audrey Lippert

Students have been receiving text messages from their peers about the protest, encouraging them to attend despite it taking place at another high school.

Following the filing of a lawsuit against the Lake Oswego School District (LOSD) by a former Lake Oswego High School (LOHS) student, community members in Lake Oswego and its surrounding areas, including West Linn, are organizing a protest.

According to wlhsNOW’s policy regarding victims of sexual assault, the plaintiff will not be named. The plaintiff alleges in the lawsuit that LOSD failed to discipline the plaintiff’s rapist after he violated a “safety plan” put in place by LOHS. The “safety plan” was implemented after school administrators were made aware of the sexual assault, in order to allow the plaintiff to avoid seeing her alleged assailant on school grounds. 

According to the lawsuit, the alleged assailant repeatedly violated the “safety plan” without repercussions from the school. The plaintiff, who was a senior prior to being unenrolled from LOHS after not attending school for 10 days, claims seeing her alleged assailant caused panic attacks and trauma and her inability to attend school. The lawsuit was first reported by Willamette Week.

India Roane, senior, is one of the students aiding in the organization of the protest despite not attending LOHS herself. 

“[I got] involved because this happened to a dear friend of mine who I’ve been friends with for most of my life, and I want to show that I support them,” Roane said. “And then it became bigger than that. It became like, ‘oh, wow, like this has happened before.’ This isn’t just my friend. This is an actual issue that we have not addressed in a very good way. It’s easy to remove yourself from it and not think about it much, but so many people are assaulted and the only way to change that is to make it a normal conversation.” 

In order to spread the word about the protest, Roane is texting as many people as possible, encouraging them to both attend the protest and tell their friends about the issue regardless of which school they attend.

“At first I was nervous to send this text to so many people because it’s a bold thing,” Roane said. “You walk into a room and you say this word, and it’s like, ‘rape, that’s a big word.’ And yeah, it is and nobody ever talks about it, [but] they need to. The response I’ve been getting from people has been really positive and encouraging, so it’s getting easier to talk about.”

This is not LOSD’s first lawsuit regarding sexual assault, as a similar lawsuit was filed by another LOHS student in 2018, according to the Lake Oswego Review. That also alleged an unsafe school environment at LOHS following a sexual assault.

“This is about a school district that we are very close to and we need kids to be in a safe learning environment,” Roane said. “This is close to home, which is threatening. How would West Linn-Wilsonville [School District] respond to a situation like this?”

The protest will take place on April 21 at 9:45 a.m. in front of LOHS.