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Niagara Wheatfield High School students walk out over district's handling of rape

Thomas O'Neil-White

Students at Niagara Wheatfield High School staged a walkout Friday in protest of the school districts handling of a male student who admitted to raping another student last year.

The male student plead guilty earlier this week, but was allowed to remain at the school until Friday. While some students exited the building, pictures on social media show others barred from leaving by teachers and warned they could face suspension. Those who did make it out surrounded the mother of the victim as she spoke publicly.

"I'm here because I need to remain an advocate for my daughter," she said. "I wanted the school to know there was an adult male student sex offender walking their halls."

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

She said a statement from the School District Superintendent claiming state and federal requirements regarding student investigations and discipline were adhered to is inaccurate.

She said she will be releasing a formal statement at a later date.

District Superintendent Dan Ljiljanich released an additional statement saying the district office was shown a document from Niagara County Court on Thursday afternoon, notifying them of the guilty plea, and that reports the School District was allowing a convicted felon to continue to go to school are false.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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