Dear Editor: While the East High community would expect disgust, shock and an eagerness to take action to address the underlying rape culture present in our schools, Madison Metropolitan School District head of security Joe Balles seemed utterly indifferent to the occurrence of the horrific incidence of sexual assault that was perpetrated on East’s campus on last week. When interviewed on Channel 3000 about current security measures and whether there would be any changes in security procedure to come, he replied that, "Our buildings are full of kids, and kids will be kids. As terrible and tragic as that incident sounds, I would just ask that people just be patient. Our schools are very safe but there are incidents that are going to happen from time to time.”
In dismissing this tragic incident with his extremely harmful “kids will be kids” mentality, Balles is signaling that he does not comprehend the gravity or the full magnitude of the situation and he is justifying the incident through painting sexual assault as nothing more than a rather unfortunate inevitability that is an inherent element of our society. His words dictate that our school community must simply accept sexual assault as something that is just “going to happen from time to time,” and are a major affront to the experience of the survivor. Beyond that, it is clear that he does not believe it to be important to take action to protect students from future sexual violence. A person who holds these beliefs is not capable or deserving of being the MMSD head of security and must be fired. No apology of his or vague promises to “do better” will ever change the fact that “kids will be kids” were the first words he used to respond to a sexual assault that was perpetrated under his watch.
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