Statement Regarding Decision Not to Pursue Criminal Charges Related to Assault at  Whitehorse Middle School

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YWCA Madison: Statement following the attack of an 11-year old student at Whitehorse Middle School

Categories: Blog, News


YWCA Madison is both outraged and devastated at the decision last week not to pursue criminal charges against a school administrator who attacked an 11-year old black girl at Whitehorse Middle School. We are outraged because we cannot understand how violence from an adult white male against a black girl does not justify criminal charges. We are devastated because once again the systems and leaders we expect to protect us have done just the opposite.

The facts that are listed below are taken from Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen, Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church here in Madison, WI. He has been with the family every step of the way since this incident occurred.

  • February 13 – Police are called by mom because daughter tells mom a teacher assaulted her.
  • February 15 – MMSD shows mom, grandma and myself the video of what happened in the hallway.
  • February 15 – After reviewing video Pastor Allen calls Chief Koval and the DA’s office. Both informed Pastor Allen that there was nothing to be done yet because the police report was incomplete.
  • February 16 – Mom filed a complaint with CPS. February 19 CPS begins their investigation.
  • Due to the officer reporting that mom never wanted charges brought against the teacher, MPD does not start their investigation interviewing witnesses until February 19 (according to the police report) 6 days after the incident.
  • February 20 – MMSD meets with Pastor Allen and stated that their investigation was over. On the same day, Jen Cheatham tells the mom the teacher will never work around children again in the district.
  • February 20 – Madison 365 published a report on the incident.
  • February 25 – Mom takes the child to be interviewed by Safe Harbor. During this meeting, the DA (Ozanne) is there with CPS and MPD. It has been two weeks at this point and nothing has happened. The family is upset and share their frustration with the DA. He was very defensive and appeared irritated with the complaints from the family. The DA also states that “somehow this investigation has gone off kilter.” During this meeting, MPD indicated that their investigation was almost over but MMSD was making them jump through a lot of hoops in order to get names and interview possible witnesses.
  • February 28 – DA (Ozanne) requests a Child Protective Service report on the mom. (Wow!!!)
  • February 28 – Pastor Allen talked to Chief Koval and he stated MPD investigation was complete.
  • March 1 – Mom was called by the East Police Station stating that the case was given to the DA’s office.
  • March 4 – Mom goes to see CPS and they informed her of the DA’s request and suggested it was odd for him to ask for this report on the mom. CPS informed the mom they were still investigating the situation.
  • March 5 – At 10:00 am a press conference was held at Mt. Zion telling about how flawed the investigation was and to expose the DA’s investigation on the mom.
  • March 5 – At 12:45 pm the DA (Ozanne) calls the mom stating they will not pursue charges.
  • March 5 – At 1:00 pm the DA (Ozanne) holds his own press conference. One thing he stated was the community needs to have race relations conversations. (To which, I would ask him (DA Ozanne) to lead those conversations.)

The facts of this case are startling, with injustice nearly every step of the way.

When will Madison start believing black children and their families? When will putting hands on a black child be cause to call the police? When will we stop criminalizing black families and using that as an excuse for why they don’t deserve justice?

To find, as the police and District Attorney have, that this attack was not criminal, you have to refuse to see what is clearly before you. Because there is no justification for an adult to put his hands on a child. It is past time that Madison be held accountable.

We demand change, and we urge everyone to join us. We need decision-makers to be leaders of color who understand the black community’s daily fight against racism, and who understand that black children deserve a childhood instead of having to navigate through our racist systems. We also need MMSD to make the right decision regarding this teacher.

This is the real Madison, and it is long past time to wake up, see it, and actively dismantle the systematic oppression that plagues us.

About YWCA Madison

YWCA Madison is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. For 110 years, YWCA has been a leader in addressing the most challenging issues of the day, including gender equity, affordable housing, racial justice, restorative justice, and family supporting wages. Today our programs and services across the greater Madison area serve over five thousand women, girls, and their families. We combine programming and advocacy to move the needle on three key areas: racial and gender equity, housing and shelter, and employment training and transportation.


For Immediate Release
Contact: Jay Young
608.395.2198 |