Storms wants state to mandate better locker room security

January 13th, 2010 by

TBO.com TALLAHASSEE – Responding to the Walker Middle School rape case, State Sen. Ronda Storms said today she plans to file legislation to mandate better security in school locker rooms.

Storms, R-Valrico, told state Education Commissioner Eric Smith during a committee meeting this morning that after the May 2009 incident, she had asked Smith’s department repeatedly for information about locker room supervision across Florida’s 67 county school districts, but never received an answer.

“It is imperative that we know who is being supervised, and who is not supervising them,” she said, noting, “the young man was repeatedly raped; this was not just a one-time occurrence.”

Smith agreed it was a “serious issue.”

After the hearing, Storms said “We’re going to fix that. You can’t sustain that.”

Four Walker Middle students are accused of sexually assaulting a flag football teammate in the Walker Middle locker room last March and April. The four have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail.

Adults should put themselves in kids’ shoes, Storms said. “There is no adult who would get naked in front of their enemies. You know, you cannot put a bunch of kids in a locker room and expect that they’re going to be safe in that environment. You just think of it – ask any regular adult who went through middle school, ‘are you safe, would you feel safe going back to middle school and having no adult standing there, protecting you?’ That’s just irresponsible … kids should be supervised no matter what.”

Even if rapes weren’t occurring, she said, just think about the issue of sexting – who’s to say, when a kid in undressing in a locker room, that an enemy of the child isn’t taking pictures of him or her for use in taunting later?

“Nobody is there to stop it,” she said, adding that her intent is to file a bill or an amendment to address locker-room supervision.


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