‘At one point, I started screaming,’ Hays CISD student reports sexual misconduct during school trip

Hays

BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — “I didn’t know how I was going to tell my mom. I didn’t know how to even talk about it,” says 16-year-old Emily Polk.

She says in October another student sexually assaulted her in a hotel room while they were on a school trip to Corpus Christi.

The then-sophomore at Johnson High School says she and a teammate had gone to a boy’s room — which is against school rules.

But when she felt uncomfortable and tried to leave, Polk says the boy started touching her.

“I was just like, ‘Hey, hey buddy. This isn’t funny.’ And at one point I started screaming, I was like, ‘Hey, get off of me!’” she says.

She says that the boy “grabbed my arm and threw me on the bed and got on top of me.”

Polk says after that, it wasn’t until January when she told an adult about it.

Brandy Pittman (R) says her daughter, Emily Polk, received backlash for coming forward (Courtesy of Brandy Pittman)

She says she went to a school staff member.

“She told me to stop and told me she didn’t care about school drama,” Polk says. “I was like, this is not drama, this is serious.”

But a spokesperson for Hays CISD tells KXAN the district did not find out about the allegation until February, when Polk’s mother contacted an administrator and a school resource officer.

In a statement to KXAN, the district says they “are aware of the allegations but can’t comment further because it involves a student and investigations by law enforcement… and child protective services.”

“Hays CISD places the highest importance on student safety and, as in this case, follows all requirements to, upon learning of serious allegations, immediately report them to appropriate investigatory authorities. Additionally, the district follows all internal policies and procedures that address student safety, support, and well-being.”  

Tim Savoy, HCISD spokesperson

The Hays County Sheriff’s Office says since the alleged incident happened in Corpus Christi, the case was sent to police there in March.

Brandy Pittman, Emily’s mother, questions why the report was sent so late.

“There’s no accountability,” she says. “Who’s protecting our girls?”

Last month, Pittman received communication from the district saying student in question was “disciplined for violating team rules…” but didn’t explain further.

“Did my daughter need to get raped? Did she need to get pregnant? Did she need to get murdered for them to actually do something?” Pittman says.

Now, six months after speaking out, the family says they are still waiting for closure.

The mother says the school district and law enforcement have been slow to act. She says they had no choice but to go public, even with such a personal issue.

“What other girls is he touching at Johnson? Who else has he done it to?” Pittman says.

“It’s just something that I’m having to process. I feel like I’m processing it a lot better now that I’ve told people,” Polk says.

The Hays County Sheriff’s Office tells KXAN it took a month to send the case to police in Corpus Christi because they were dealing with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Corpus Christi Police Department would not confirm the status of their investigation.

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