Student Suspended for Raising Sexual Assault Awareness in Her High School Is Suing Her District

Illustration for article titled Student Suspended for Raising Sexual Assault Awareness in Her High School Is Suing Her District
Screenshot: WMTW-TV/YouTube

Last week, 15-year-old Aela Mansmann—a student at Cape Elizabeth High School in Cape Elizabeth, Maine— was suspended for posting sticky notes in school restrooms that read “There’s a rapist in our school and you know who it is.” In response, 50 students staged a walkout on Monday to protest the suspensions, where Mansmann told reporters, “It makes me angry that I’m being punished for bullying and a rapist isn’t being punished for raping people.”

Two other girls who’ve yet to come forward publicly were also suspended, allegedly for distributing similar messages.

Now, according to the Associated Press, Mansmann is taking her school district to court with some help from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. The ACLU believes she was simply attempting to raise awareness of a prevalent issue in her community and that she has taken a “public stance as an ally for victims and survivors of sexual violence.”

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Cape Elizabeth High School principal Jeffrey Shedd apparently disagrees. In a letter distributed Wednesday, Shedd claimed that a male student felt targeted by the notes and no longer left safe attending class. Mansmann is countering that argument—she alleges she never mentioned any abusers or victims by name, and she never claimed to be a survivor herself, AP reports.

Mansmann’s first hearing is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 21. In the meantime, she has appealed her suspension.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

If someone put these notes up in my office I wouldn’t feel targeted.

If someone put up a note that said “someone keeps taking the last cup of coffee without making a fresh pot” I would feel extremely targeted.

Because I’m not a rapist.