SEATTLE - Several students including football players have been suspended from Seattle's Chief Sealth High School in connection with threatening text messages talking about raping female students. Principal Ray Garcia Morales sent families a letter Thursday evening saying the school took immediate action after students and parents voiced their concerns.
The issue has students as the conversations are disturbing and concerning.
FOX 13 spoke with students, due to being minors we're not naming them. A 14-year-old ninth grade student said it started with a group chat "full of sophomore boys from the football team" and those conversations were then posted on Instagram.
"I saw the screenshot; it was basically like, ‘Oh, we want to bend her over and we want to rip her pants off,’" another freshman said.
The explicit conversations allegedly were written by student athletes talking about several teen girls. The nature has taken students and parents, like John Saiz who drops off and picks up his 14-year-old daughter Jrue daily, by surprise.
"It’s heartbreaking it’s disturbing," Saiz said.
"It makes the school feel like a dangerous place and I don't really feel safe here around them in the halls either," Jrue said.
"Just wrong," a freshman said. "It's creepy, it's weird, it's predatory."
Heading to practice, players and a coach told FOX 13 those involved have been suspended. However, some are still left wondering who all was involved and how many are being disciplined.
"No they're not telling us who it is which is even scarier knowing I could be hanging out with people who do this on the internet," a freshman said.
Principal Ray Garcia Morales declined to interview. However; Seattle Public Schools says athletic leaders are developing a plan to prevent sexual harassment and as offering support to the students who were subject of these messages.
Their statement to FOX 13 says: "To ensure a safe and respectful environment for all students, the following steps have been taken:
1. School Investigation: The school administration team is actively investigating the concerns and considering appropriate disciplinary measures and additional corrective actions.
2. Student Support: Our social workers and school leaders are reaching out to offer direct support to each student who was a subject of the inappropriate messages. Also, a list of resources has been shared and students have access to a Teen Health Center.
3. Promoting Gender Equity: Our Chief Sealth athletic leaders are developing a comprehensive plan to promote gender equity, prevent sexual harassment, and help our students better understand the behaviors expected of Chief Sealth students and athletes.
4. Requesting Family Conversations: We have requested families discuss with their children the importance of not engaging in or encouraging comments that promote sexual violence, and we have shared resource links that may be useful in those conversations.
The school and the district support the student's rights to express their views in a peaceful manner, including assembly and peaceful protest.
We are committed to working together as a community to address these issues and promote a culture of respect and understanding.
Jrue says she’s close with of the teens who was being talked about in the text. She said "Honestly, I just wanted to make sure that she was okay. I just feel bad that she's going to have this traumatic memory stuck in her mind."
Students are planning to walk out Friday in hopes of holding those behind the texts responsible. The district says they support student’s rights to express their views and are continuing their investigation.