DERRY, N.H. (WHDH) - Students at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire walked out of class Friday as school officials investigate sexual assault allegations.
Just two weeks into the school year, Headmaster Timothy J. Powers sent a letter home to parents saying they had been made aware of “serious” sexual assault allegations made against Pinkerton students by other classmates.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing, and they do not reflect our school community’s shared values or our expectations around what constitutes appropriate and acceptable behavior,” he wrote.
Powers added that school officials reported this to local law enforcement, as well as the Division for Children, Youth and Families.
“Please know that all of us at Pinkerton Academy are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is safe, nurturing and that promotes respect for one another at all times,” Powers wrote. “All members of our community have a right to feel safe and protected on campus, and we consistently strive to support our students, faculty, and staff in this regard.”
Hundreds of students walked out of their classrooms around 8 a.m. in response to these allegations.
“I thought it was really important to come out here because i wanted to stand up for girls that have gone through this,” one student said.
Another student, who told 7News that she was sexually abused as a child and has dealt with harassment at Pinkerton, stood outside to join the chant, “No means no.”
“Since the school is so big, there’s multiple people that have harassed other people and it happened here to me multiple times,” she said. “People just don’t go to the admin because they’re scared.”
Powers had acknowledged the possibility of a walkout in his letter on Thursday, saying school officials are appreciative of the students need to voice their concerns but that they expect them to be in their seats at the start of the school day.
Parents told 7News that they are confident the school will handle the allegations appropriately.
“I’m sure it’s something that the school will handle appropriately as they always do,” one woman said.
Another parent referred to Pinkerton Academy as a “good school.”
No additional information has been released.
Anyone with information regarding the allegations is asked to contact the school resource officer during school hours or call Derry police.
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