Dozens gathered outside Burbank and John Burroughs High Schools Wednesday to call for changes in how the district handles sexual misconduct allegations.
The demonstrations comes on the heels of social media posts that have been critical of the district’s response to sexual assault accusations against staff members and other students.
“Personally, I’ve had sexual comments made at me. I’ve reported those. They do nothing,” Burroughs High School senior Geneva Gisella said.
Burbank resident Ani Chaglasian, with the group, Protect Kids Not Abusers, and an organizer of Wednesday’s demonstration, told KTLA that dozens of students have reached out with their stories and have not been heard by officials at Burbank Unified School District.
“We have 78 students who have publicly reached out to us and written impact statements about how their stories have not been heard by either BUSD, Burroughs High School, Burbank High School,” said Chaglasian.
Former Burbank High School student Hannah Sidener shared some of her story with KTLA.
“I felt like I was so alone during that time, and I didn’t realize how bad it was and how many other people were alone too in the process,” she said.
Sidener is a sexual assault survivor and says the district mishandled her case.
“Everyone talks about how Burbank High…everyone moves to Burbank for the schools, it’s so great and everything. It’s not safe,” she said. “It’s not safe for students. The sexual assault is absolutely terrible.”
The demonstrations outside the schools also come just weeks after a former Burbank High School student, 22-year-old Patrick Nazarian of Glendale, allegedly entered campus grounds through a parking lot and an unlocked door, where he is then accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl and attacking two other female students. He has since been charged with felony sexual battery by restraint and child molesting and battery, the District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
In response to the rallies outside the schools, Burbank Unified School District says it offers support to students who have been the object of alleged misconduct, with the superintendent adding in a statement that read in part:
“The administration takes all reports of sexual misconduct very seriously. Administrators work closely with local authorities when allegations are brought to their attention. Reports about misconduct that occur on school grounds or within school programs and activities are investigated with care and sensitivity, consistent with policies and procedures established by the Board of Education.”