Assault heats up middle school rumor mill
Officials at Marshall Middle School have been dealing with the stories all week, fielding questions from parents and students who wanted to know if what they had heard was true, said Janesville police officer Kevin Olin, the school’s resource officer.
Not all they had heard was true, and the incident was not as bad as some believed, Olin said.
A girl was assaulted, but it didn’t happen at school, and it may not even have been an act of bullying, Olin said.
“Obviously, kids talk, and Facebook does us no favors,” Olin said. “There is a lot of false information here that is spreading really fast. …
“Everybody is concerned about student safety, and in reality, that’s the farthest from the truth. The kids are all safe at school. The situation has been taken care of,” Olin said.
Olin said he would not call this incident bullying, because it does not involve a pattern of behavior.
A police report indicates the two 14-year-olds were referred to juvenile authorities, both on battery charges. One was held at the county juvenile detention center.
One girl also was referred on a charge of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, and the other on a charge of being a runaway.
The weapon was a shotgun belonging to one of the girls’ fathers, but it was never fired, the report indicates.
Three girls apparently had a sleepover Dec. 1. The next day, one of the girls returned to the residence to pick up belongings. That’s when the assault occurred.
One of the accused told police the victim was pushed and fell facedown on some stairs. Then one girl sat on the victim’s head and the other on her back.
Both girls admitted hitting the victim, and one said she hit the victim’s arms and legs “a lot.”
At some point, one of the girls got some “brown sauce” and dumped it on the victim’s face. The report does not describe the sauce further. The victim later washed the sauce off in the bathroom.
The victim was allowed to get up, and she went upstairs to retrieve belongings but was again told she could not leave, the report states. The victim then went to a door and pulled it, breaking a chain lock.
One of the girls denied using the shotgun in the incident. It was not clear when or why the gun was used.
“I did not believe that (the girl) knew what she was doing when she grabbed the gun and pointed it at (the victim),” the officer wrote. “It was clear that (the girl) did not know whether or not the safety was on or if the gun was loaded or unloaded.”
Three friends arrived during the incident, and one took a video of a fight in which the victim and one of the other girls pushed and shoved each other, the report states.
One girl told officers that the victim might have been upset about a boy at school, but the other girl denied a dispute over boys.
Both girls had run away from their parents and had not been seen by friends for 24 hours until police found them on East Milwaukee Street on Dec. 3, the report indicates.
One of the girls told an officer “the girls do wrestle on occasion, and it is consensual from all parties.” She said the girls wrestled during the sleepover.
The accused girls were smirking when police questioned them “and did not appear to grasp the seriousness of the situation,” the report says.