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If you’ve read my book (I Am Turtleboy) or read my blogs on this topic, you know that I feel very strongly that not enough kids are suspended from public schools. But because politicians run on a platform of “every kids deserves an education,” and “abolish the school to prison pipeline,” schools are often handcuffed by the government from suspending students who are a danger to others. That’s why this headline out of North Andover was sadly unsurprising.
Yes, that’s right. The North Andover Public Schools forced a victim of sexual assault to sign a document promising to stay away from her attacker. Here’s a rundown of what happened:
- Eliezer “Eli” Tuttle was accused in April of 2018 of attempting to sexually assault a classmate. The victim wrote in a sworn affidavit (AKA After David) that he drove her down a dead end road and jumped on top of her. She told him 3-4 times to get off and had to fend him off with her knees when he didn’t take no for an answer. He drove her home and told her not to tell anyone.
- Tuttle’s case in juvenile court was continued without a finding until his 19th birthday, which means he admits to sufficient facts that a reasonable jury would convict him for, without actually pleading guilty. The benefit of a CWOF is it disappears from your record if you don’t violate the terms of your virtual probation.
- Despite this he was allowed to not only remain as a student at North Andover, but was a member of the track team.
- The 18 year old victim felt uncomfortable with him being in the same school as her but was forced to sign a “school safety plan,” which put several burdens on her, and was signed by Assistant Vice Principal Brooke Randall.
- The safety plan forces the victim to “refrain from any avoidable contact or communication with Tuttle,” including through a third party. It requires her to travel in a pattern outlined in the plan so as to avoid Tuttle in the hallways. She also is required to immediately tell school staff about any contact with Tuttle, and comes with the caveat that she will be disciplined if she violates any of those terms until they both graduate.
- The victim was too traumatized to be around Tuttle so she enrolled in night school at NAHS, which also came with stipulations. This included not being allowed to loiter by the gym because Tuttle is a member of both the track and wrestling teams which practice long after school ends.
This is everything that is wrong with public schools today, and it didn’t happen by accident. Let’s start with the fact that the victim is required to alter her life in any way, shape, or form, and face discipline if she doesn’t. High school kids are not lemmings. Their schedules change day to day. Sometimes kids need a pass to go the library to work on a project, or visit a teacher for extra help. This victim is unable to do that because the “safety plan” makes it impossible for her to be flexible.
The solution is to kick the accused rapist out of school. He admitted in court that the facts against him were sufficient. That’s really all you need to know. From that point on he has given up the right to attend North Andover High School. The victim should not have to adjust her life; he should.
It certainly didn’t hurt that he’s one of the school’s top athletes, and is still promoted on the school’s Twitter account for setting the school record in the shuttle hurdle relay.
— NA Knights Track (@NAknightstrack) June 17, 2017
Of course this happened largely because of an executive order signed by President Obama that keeps students like Eli Tuttle in schools:
The discipline guidance put in place under President Obama suggested schools could run afoul of federal civil rights laws if they disciplined students of color at higher rates than their peers. Federal data show black and Latino students are disciplined at higher rates than white students, and the discipline guidance said schools have an obligation to address those disparities.
Disciplinary policies, even those drafted without discriminatory intent, may also violate the federal laws if students from certain racial groups are disproportionately affected by them, an effect commonly known as “disparate impact,” the guidance says. If students of one race are sanctioned at disproportionately higher rates under a given policy, educators should be prepared to demonstrate that the disciplinary measure is “necessary to meet an important educational goal” and that they have considered alternatives, the document says.
In other words, North Andover High School was incentivized by the federal government to keep Eli Tuttle in school because he falls into the “racial groups disproportionately affected” by school suspensions.
This mandate from the federal government operates under the misguided assumption that students from marginalized groups come to school every day eager to learn, only to be suspended without cause by racist teachers and administrators. Thus the federal government had to protect their right to remain in school.
But none of the people who write educational policy in this country have ever actually worked in schools. Had they done so they would realize that students like Eli Tuttle are a danger to other students, and take away other student’s rights to an education by being in the same building. Just ask the victim:
I wasn’t sleeping or eating and my grades were going downhill. I was having nightmares. It just wasn’t me,” the victim said. “I was late to school every day because I had to hold back when he was walking into the building. Eventually, the only way for me to graduate was to go to night school.
Since her incident Eli has once again been accused of sexual assault in New Hampshire, and it’s almost the exact same story from Andover.
Eliezer Tuttle, 18 was arrested again last week for raping a New Hampshire girl twice in the same day. In New Hampshire, Tuttle is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in the back seat of his car in two towns during the same day in February. He’s charged in Salem, New Hampshire, with two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault (no consent), aggravated felonious sexual assault (use of force/violence), two counts of simple assault and second degree assault (strangulation). In Epping, he faces charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault, attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, criminal restraint and two counts of simple assault.
The victim in the New Hampshire cases told Salem police on Feb. 18, the day after the alleged rapes, that she had been on a date with Tuttle, but he pulled her into the back seat of his car and forcibly had sex with her before the two could make it into a restaurant in Salem. The victim told police that Tuttle then drove her to a movie theater in Epping, where he raped her again.
The October 2017 incident involved her 15-year-old daughter, and the police report was filed the day after the incident. Tuttle was 16 at the time. He first denied to police that anything occurred, then a half-hour later said the girl initiated sex, the report reads. According to the police report supplied to The Eagle-Tribune by Crowe, the girl and a male friend were at Tuttle’s house playing video games and relaxing. Tuttle started to massage the girl over her sweatshirt and eventually slipped his hand onto her bare skin, according to the report.
The girl told police that she “continued to slap and push his hands away and tell him not to touch her.” The male friend, also in the room, announced that he was going to Dunkin Donuts and asked if anyone wanted to join him. The girl told police that she tried to send “signals” that she was uncomfortable and wanted to leave, but Tuttle pulled at her arm, making her feel like she couldn’t get up. The rape happened soon after the two were left alone, the police report states. Also according to the report, the girl felt “shocked” and “frozen” while “thinking why is he doing this?” She reported that she “didn’t want to say anything because it wouldn’t make a difference. He wouldn’t get off me.” She told police that she answered a phone call from a friend during the attack and Tuttle “kept going.”
That friend told police during an interview later that the girl sounded “out of it” and upset during the call, and that after the attack, the two met. The girl told her friend the same story she would share with police the next day. The girl said she told Tuttle “four or five times that she had to go,” according to the report, “but he would not answer her.” Eventually, the girl said she was able to get Tuttle off her in order to put her clothes back on. She told police she left the house, where the friend who had left for Dunkin Donuts picked her up. He told police during an interview included in the report that he could “see it in her face” that something was wrong. Her eyes watered as she spoke of just being raped, he states in the report.
It’s almost as if there’s a pattern here.
Stories like this are way you should be weary of any politician who uses words like “school to prison pipeline,” or cites data that suggests that schools are suspending too many students in certain groups. When they do that they’re saying that once elected they will enact laws that make it much harder for schools to appropriately discipline dangerous students for fear of the wrath of the government.
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