Mother upset with response to ‘groping game’ at daughter’s school

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INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis mother says her daughter is among several female victims of an inappropriate and long-running “game” involving groping and sexual harassment among sixth graders at a local school.

The IPS Sidener Academy is investigating the allegations, but Alicia Ridner says she’s now pulling her 12-year-old daughter out of the high-performing school because she doesn’t believe enough is being done to protect the girls.

Ridner said the principal called her three weeks ago to notify her of an investigation involving her 12-year-old daughter. Ridner said she had to wait until her daughter got home to find out what was going on.

“Tears started streaming down her face and she proceeded to tell me how they’ve been groping her, punching them in their private parts… they’ve renamed the days of the week to different things so it’s like a game for them,” Ridner said.

Ridner said her daughter told her that six boys in her class had come up with the game, which referred to days like “Free Booty Friday” and others that referred private parts and vulgar sex acts. She claimed her daughter and four or five of her classmates endured the treatment for months before finally coming forward.

“The boys call themselves’ the clique’ or ‘the pack’ and it’s been going on the whole school year,” Ridner told Fox59. “The girls were fearful every time a teacher left the room because it would happen.”

IPS spokesman John Althardt told Fox59 News that there are multiple investigations into the allegations. He said the case was reported to the Department of Child Services, but there has been no action taken. IPS police also investigated, but have not found anything criminal.

Althardt said IPS also opened its own Title IX investigation, but he said he couldn’t comment on the allegations or the investigation until it is complete. Title IX investigations can include sexual harassment, sexual violence or sexual discrimination.

“How do you train your children to do the right thing, tell people and expect to be protected when they do that and they’re not?” Ridner asked. “You expect them to be safe at school or at least for the school to protect them.”

Alicia said the boys were removed from class during the investigation. She was notified Friday morning that the boys would be returning to class soon. She said the only other action the principal told her about included an assignment for everyone involved.

“She said, ‘I’ve talked it over with my director. We’ve assigned them all an essay,’” Ridner explained.

Ridner said her daughter won’t be at school to complete that essay—she’s already looking for a new school.

“It’s supposed to be an exceptional school that she fought to get into, had the grades, tested to get in there, and now she has to be pulled because she can’t focus,” Ridner said. “She’s stressed out. She shakes and cries every day that she comes home.”

56 comments

  • Becky

    Its hard to understand how this can happen at an IPS school. Who is in charge at this zoo. The boys were to to write essays? Are you kidding me?

  • Lauri

    Very sad that this kind of thing is still going on at this school after 40 years. It happened when I went there in the 70s and nobody did anything about it then either.

  • Brad

    All I can say is 1. Do these girls not have dad’s to handle the situation? 2.why don’t these parents press charges against the boys which would really be against their parents since the age of the kids are so under age. 3. If nothing is being done by DCS, by the school, or the police then me myself as a father would in NO way allow this to continue to happen. Nobody and I mean nobody would continue to treat or most of all touch my daughter at all. If the school did not handle these boys along with their parents, then me as a caring father would have to resort to handling the situation on my own… IN NO WAY WOULD I ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE NO MATTER HIW I WOULD HAVE TO HANDLE IT MYSELF… NO female be it a little girl or an adult female would I allow this to keep happening. Even if I had to break the law…. Period!!

    • Randy Freeland

      Becky, sounds like the girls had to write an essay too, then Lauri says its not new and has been happening for 40 yrs … serious flaw in the IPS system to permit for so long and then penalize the victims . SO Brad's comment is dead on —

      • Brad

        I agree with your comment about its up to parents to teach their children right from wrong, but we are way way past that now at this school. Something needs done now and it sounds like it’s gonna be up to the girls parents to handle it. By that I mean handle it however the parents have to…

  • Anne

    I’m a parent of a child at Sidener. We are into our second school year here. This is a wonderful program. We’ve had less issues at Sidener than the two other IPS schools my son has attended. At some point it is a parent’s responsibility to speak with their children and know what is going on in their children’s lives. My son and I have regular conversations about bullying and also about what to do about sexual abuse. We are also speaking about children that are for the most part old enough to speak up. It all starts at home. Teach them right from wrong, make sure we know as parents what is going on, and handle the problem. An attentive parent wouldn’t have waited months to find out why their child is depressed and withdrawn. I know that Sidener staff is very attentive to the children’s needs. If there has ever been an

    Issue at school, Sidener staff have bent over backwards to help us solve it.

  • Anne

    My child wasn’t involved in that incident nor was he aware of it. I see where the kids have gotten this from! A stellar school is being drug through the mud over poor parenting. Not all children at that school are being required to write the essay. My child isn’t in that grade. Again, as a parent, you should know what is going on in your child’s life. I email my son’s teachers weekly and am in his school at least once every 2 weeks. I am not just talking about the girls who were abused, but the parents of the boys committing the abuse. Just because something happens at school doesn’t mean that that it is solely handled by the school. It should be addressed at home. I’m not saying IPS is right. They have some serious problems. As a kindergartener, my son was held down and beaten by 5th graders at a different IPS elementary. The problems at Sidener pale in comparison to some of the other schools. That incident I mentioned was not handled to my satisfaction as a parent. The children in that incident weren’t disciplined. The bulk of IPS ‘s problems are due to lack of parental involvement. Our educators are here to teach them academics. Parents teach their children morals and values. A teacher can’t educate when the children lack social skills and moral behaviors.

      • Brad

        If you don’t like my comment then don’t read it, as far as yours not showing up or being deleted. I will tell you this my comment isn’t a threat.. It’s a promise these boys should just be glad I’m not involved and that they aren’t touching my daughter..

    • Mrs. Jackson

      Anne do you know anything about abuse victims? If your child goes to that same school why arent you more upset that the school is enforcing an essay instead of being exspelled, kicked out.

    • Mrs. Jackson

      Nothing you teach your kids can prepare them for this type of abuse, at that age kids dont tell you more than you think when they are hurting. Obviously you do not know a thing about victims of abuse

  • Beatrice

    How can this website post Brad's comment which sounds like a lot of threats but not mine about how the story doesn't add up???

  • guest

    folks, the parents of the "team" of boys should be offered a choice, you or your child gets removed from the society that was violated…. mis-raised child goes to another school with monitoring or parent makes financial restitution and lots of community service with sex offenders. my guess is the parents of the mis-trained children will throw their kids under "the bus".

  • Miyah

    I myself have been a student and I find it to be a VERY exceptional school. For those stdents who participated in the act, I feel as though they should be punished, and not the school. This is a very good school for only very smart students, but for little kids to do such a nefarious act, it dissapoints me. This school teaches a very advanced course and I highly reccomend it, for very gifted students, although it may be difficult to get into. As I myself, (as previously said), was a student. I have learned very much as I am already past all my peers at any regular school.

  • Beatrice

    I just don't believe this womans story. Why would you ignore your daughters shaking and crying for months, since the school year started!!!

  • guest

    this is the exact reason our taxpaid schools (resonsible to us for our prodgeny) are in such a quandry. the parents, whether they like it or not, are Responsible, until adulthood, for the behavior of their children in the public forum. if you want your children to be sex offenders at home, enjoy that. Please do not send them into the public forum mis-trained and expect that you can hide behind public officials. public officials you need to protect the innocent from the parents who send their mis-trained children into your area of responsibility. you have the tools dont be afraid to use them. Parents of mis-trained children take responsibility and take the hit. go do community service among the adults that were mis-trained so you can understand if you do not take responsibility, society and your child will suffer. stand up for your rights and take the hit or get the mis-trained children help in a monitored facility.

  • martinstucky

    This should be no surprise. The administrators have learned this from the State Department of Education. A school which loses a complaint and is found in violation only has to write a letter stating they will not ever do this again. No punishment, no damages and no correcting the damage they have caused the child through past bad behavior. Letter after letter, they have no incentive to change. I guess this is just an extension of the lack of accountability from the DOE on down.

    • Alicia

      They have assigned the girls iss! Stop hiding in the shadows people stand up for your kids!!! These girls are victims.

  • Alicia

    I will not be quiet. You will know my face, you will know my name, and like it or not you WILL protect these kids.

    • Alicia

      Same problem people at 2 different schools! Stop turning your head. This is our future generation, if we dont stand up for them then who will?? Wonder why the kids never told sooner? Well look what happens when they come forward.

  • Chelsea

    Ok I am a student at this school, this whole story was a pathetic joke. I am sorry, but alll of this is a lie. point black period. The girls played the game with the guys. The teacher, Ms. Muncy has asked about it, none of these so-called victims came forward. It is all a lie! It wasn't even the victims who came forward it was a girl who thought the girls were being victims also but she was wrong. This whole story is pathetic. If you get a story investigate your sources!

    • Mrs. Jackson

      You are mis informed and not likely a student at the school. The girl in this story is my Goddaughter, and she was a victim. Very sad to lie yourself, aking accusations that she is lying, when she has suffered and been the one shuned by the school, to protect the reputation.

    • alicia

      You should investigate yours. They did come forward. They were not protected. This behavior is not ok. These girls were not willing participants. Ms Muncy should have done more in the incident she witnessed. Point blank period your school did not handle things appropriately if in fact you are a student there.

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