Steubenville school chief speaks out

STEUBENVILLE – City Schools Superintendent Mike McVey said the school district followed proper protocol when officials learned of an alleged rape last August that may have involved Steubenville High School students.

“We have fully cooperated with the Steubenville police and will continue to fully to cooperate with all legal authorities,” McVey said Thursday.

Police arrested and charged two high school students with the rape of a 16-year-old Weirton girl in August. Their trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 13 in Jefferson County Juvenile Court.

“Our goal is to keep every kid safe in our schools and to provide a quality education,” said McVey.

He also said the administration has expanded security at every city school.

“We also plan to expand our curriculum in our schools dealing with the events now under investigation. We are also planning to expand counseling for our students. And we will continue to provide more information and more services,” McVey said.

“And we plan to do a few age-appropriate public forums for our students and their parents, as well as the community,” added McVey. “It’s a trying time for us, and our school board’s main focus is doing what is best for the kids.”

McVey also released an official prepared statement and referred to the growing public attention on the alleged rape.

“The past few months have been very difficult for all of us in the Steubenville City Schools. Since the time we first heard allegations of a sexual assault involving some of our students, we began immediate dialog with the law enforcement authorities. Our hearts go out to the young victim. We sincerely hope she is getting the help she needs to heal from this ordeal,” the statement reads.

“We are encouraging every student with information about the alleged crimes to step forward and contact the police. We were troubled when we learned that the police were having a difficult time obtaining cooperation from witnesses of that night’s events. By remaining silent, witnesses thwart the work of investigators which may ultimately prevent justice from being served.

“As a school district, our goal is to graduate students who are well educated, compassionate and caring who create greater understanding and good will within the community. The past few months have been very difficult, but as educators we know it is our responsibility to make sure all of us learn from this experience.”