It's been a rough week in Madison schools, with the first degree sexual assault of a student in a stairwell at East High School and an alleged mugging at Jefferson Middle School.
The sexual assault occurred on Thursday afternoon, according to police reports. The 15-year-old victim knew the alleged assailant, also 15, and he was arrested and charged at school.
On Wednesday, two 13-year-old students at Jefferson allegedly mugged another student at his locker, grabbing him from behind and using force to try to steal his wallet. The police report noted that all three students fell to the floor. According to a letter sent to Jefferson parents on Friday, "the student yelled loudly, resisted the attempt and went immediately to report the incident. The students involved in the attempted theft were immediately identified and detained in the office."
The mugging was not reported to police until Thursday morning and Jefferson parents did not learn about the incident until two days after the incident. When police arrived at school on Thursday, they arrested two students in the attempted theft.
Parents at East were notified Thursday of the sexual assault.
Luis Yudice, Madison public schools safety chief, said it was unusual for police not to be notified as soon as the alleged strong arm robbery was reported to school officials.
"The police should have been called," Yudice said in a phone interview Friday afternoon, noting the robbery involved the use of force. He said principals need to be educated to identify "when something warrants going above and beyond the school's authority to manage."
Yudice noted that there have been a rash of what he called "street crimes" making their way into schools and near schools in recent weeks.
There were arrests in other strong arm robberies involving students at East and Memorial over the last several weeks. A student was mugged in a school bathroom at Memorial by three others and a student at an outdoor study area at East was robbed.
In a memo sent today to Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad, school board member Lucy Mathiak asked if the school district's new approach to discipline and expulsions is having a positive impact on school climate.
In the memo she wrote, "Is anything being done to reveiw whether our safety practices are sufficient and, if not, what will be done to create a safe and supportive learning and work environment (part of the district's strategic plan) for all students and staff?
"I think it's time to look at our new approach and see if it's having the impact on behavior and school safety that it should have," she said when contacted Friday afternoon.