The number of sexual battery reports in Casper middle and high schools has dropped significantly after police and the school district made the “game” that sparked the reports public, a sergeant said Monday.
In mid-February, the Natrona County School District notified parents of the “game,” in which middle and high school boys would dare each other to inappropriately touch their female peers.
Casper Police Sgt. Scott Jones said then that there were roughly 15 reports of such behavior and that the incidents had affected every such school. Some male students were issued citations for their roles in the incidents.
On Monday, Jones — who oversees the police department’s school resource officers — said that he believes there were actually fewer than 15 victims. After investigating the reports, he said it was likely some weren’t a part of the game or some didn’t happen at all. Since the district’s outreach to parents and the subsequent media reports, Jones said he’d seen a “significant reduction” in the number of sexual battery reports in Casper schools.
“Once the story broke of this going on and we started issuing citations and making arrests, the number of reported sexual battery has dwindled to almost nothing,” he said.
He praised the district for reaching out to the community and the parents who spoke with their male children about the inappropriateness of the “game.”
Tanya Southerland, the district’s spokeswoman, said the district’s school resource officers played “an important part (in) educating students and the community on the seriousness of the situation as well as identifying consequences.” She said the officers have gone into classrooms and explained the significance of the incidents and how students could report the behavior.
The district had previously asked parents to talk with their children and had notified every staff member in the district to be aware that the behavior was taking place.
Jones said it’s hard to determine the final number of reports related to the behavior.
He said another report of sexual battery from late last week, at a Casper middle school, was not related and is an isolated incident. He declined to describe the alleged incident or name the school, but Jones said it involved student-on-student conduct. The alleged perpetrator was contacted, Jones said, as were his parents, and the student was written a citation.
Another student told school administrators, who then notified the police, Jones said.
Southerland said she could not comment on the report as she didn’t have any details about it, adding that she likely wouldn’t have been able to add much to Jones’ account anyway.