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Walker Middle School alters locker room guidelines

TAMPA — Walker Middle School is altering its guidelines for locker room supervision in the wake of rape allegations.

Students no longer will be allowed inside locker rooms without a coach or administrator present, school district spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Friday. The rooms will be locked at all other times.

Hegarty confirmed Friday that no adults were around when, according to authorities, a 13-year-old member of the school's flag football team was repeatedly sexually abused last spring with a broom handle and hockey stick by four older teammates.

Some parents of witnesses said this week they were concerned by the lack of adult supervision.

Hegarty pointed out that coaches had several duties after practices, including getting kids off the field, into the locker room to retrieve their things and then making sure they got into the right car to go home.

Walker previously followed the general district policy of supervising students while they are on campus but had no specific rules about locker rooms. The new guidelines will match those required for classrooms, where students are not allowed to be left unattended.

Joseph Brown, Walker's newly appointed principal, cited other measures the school will take against bullying in a podcast posted on his Web page. Those strategies include drop boxes around the school and a link on the school's Web site where students can report bullying anonymously.

"The school community will not condone or tolerate bullying or harassment in any form," he said.

Walker Middle School alters locker room guidelines 08/07/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 7, 2009 9:38pm]
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