This story was first published at 6:37 p.m. March 21 and updated at 6 p.m. March 22
Cleveland Heights High School student Khyri Grace was arrested and has been charged with a rape that reportedly occurred at the school Thursday.
The 19-year-old football player is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in the boys bathroom, said Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson. The Cleveland Heights resident was being held at the Cuyahoga County Jail on a $15,000 bond but posted bail March 19, and police are still investigating.
Angee Shaker, communications director for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, said each small school principal sent a letter Friday to all parents about this "very troubling incident."
Security has since been stepped up at the school and principals met with staff, emphasizing that all need to look out for students' safety. Social workers visited the girl's home and guidance counselors are offering to talk to students.
“It takes all of us to protect our schools and make sure our schools are safe,” Shaker said.
The letter also addresses two other incidents at the school this month. Last week, a student brought an unloaded gun to school. Shaker said that Cleveland Heights Police immediately swept the school and removed the boy. Roberston said the teen was arrested. Earlier in the month, another student said she was sexually assaulted, but no charges were filed.
The letter sent to families is below.
It's with sadness and regret I write to inform you that despite our commitment to school safety, two alarming incidents happened at the high school this week: a student brought an unloaded firearm to school, and a student reported she was sexually assaulted by another student in one of the high school bathrooms. This is the second time a student reported a sexual assault in the past month.
This is unacceptable. Your children’s educations and safety are our number one priority and we are increasing our efforts to ensure the safety of every one of our students.
Students saw the student with a firearm and reported it to a school official. Our staff quickly secured the student and the unloaded firearm. The school called the police, who arrested the student. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and is no longer at school.
We are proud of our students for informing staff of the existence of a firearm in school and of the quick action taken by staff to secure the safety of all students and staff in the building.
The victim of the alleged sexual assault is at home with her family, and our social workers are providing them with the support they need. Police took the other student involved into custody.
These incidents are unacceptable and we are taking steps to prevent them from happening again. We are increasing the patrolling of our building by the Cleveland Heights police officers and our security monitors. Teachers will pay closer attention to students’ whereabouts and make sure all students are where they’re supposed to be during the school day, and we’ve reminded students that if they see anything out of the ordinary, to immediately report it to a teacher.
We are also making sure students understand the severity of these situations. Currently, we are working with the District to put in place a plan to educate students about sexual assault and safety and help them avoid dangerous decisions. We will keep you informed of our efforts.
In the meantime, we encourage you to talk with your child about this week’s events. Our social workers are also available to talk during the school day to talk.
Again, I can’t stress enough that your children’s safety and educations are our number one priority, and this weeks events are unacceptable. We are doing everything possible to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment that all of our students deserve. If you would like to talk further about the events this week, my staff and I are available to answer your questions. We may be reached at 216.371.7131.
James Reed, Cleveland Heights High