Carrying homemade signs, about 20 determined parents and kids marched and chanted outside the North Penn School District administration building in Lansdale Tuesday morning in response to an assault on a 12-year-old girl there last week.

Bleeding profusely from her head after she was hit by a Stanley tumbler, the 12-year-old victim was taken to a hospital for treatment. Parents at Pennbrook Middle School were outraged that there had been multiple warnings about the alleged attacker — a student who happens to identify as transgender — to school officials. Now, some parents say administrators who ignored those warnings, including the superintendent, should resign.

As they marched on the sidewalk, the concerned parents and students yelled, “Our kids deserve better. What do we want? Answers. We won’t go away. Step up and do better. Violence equals no silence. North Penn strong.” Some drivers honked in solidarity as they passed the protestors.

Parent Cathie Shultz said there had been “a lot of issues” with the alleged attacker since kindergarten.

“With all the warnings they got, something should have been done,” said Shultz. “This never should have been allowed to happen. They didn’t take it seriously. This was the fourth school the child was at for middle school.”

“I don’t get it. I really don’t.”

Her 17-year-old daughter Amanda is a high school senior. “I just think it was crazy it went on for so long. It shouldn’t have been more than a minute. Security should have stopped it,” Amanda said.

Shultz added, “The school district does not provide cafeteria monitors to the middle schools anymore.”

Shultz is a cafeteria monitor in an elementary school and said the kids talk to the monitors, and “we’re interfering before something starts.”

Nicole Brown said she was at the protest because her son is a student at Pennbrook, and “there needs to be accountability.” She suggested Superintendent Todd Bauer, Ed.D. should resign.

‘There needs to stop being silence,” said Brown. “They handled the situation wrong from the start to the end. They’re protecting the rights of the other child, which is fine. But who’s protecting our children?”

Stephanie Palovcak said she and Brown organized the protest because “we want answers. We want accountability.”

“How did it even get to this point, where this child was attacked?” asked Palovcak, “Staff was made aware of this numerous times…there was something called a hit list of children that they wanted to beat up. It was reported by parents and kids.”

Taxpayers will pay for the third-party investigation the district will do, she said.

“There needs to be accountability really bad,” she said. School officials “were warned numerous times on Tuesday. And they were called and emailed by the mother of a student on the hit list. Her child was threatened to be curb-stomped by this attacker. And they sent her a generic email.”

Palovcak said, “The student was placed on an in-school suspension, but given the child’s violent background within the North Penn School District, I feel an out-of-school suspension should have been warranted for the threats they’re making.”

Two children told a counselor on Wednesday morning an attack would happen at lunchtime. The counselor told them not to worry.

“I don’t know why they allowed this child to enter into the lunchroom with the seventh graders being in there. They could have brought lunch to the child…They should have had better security, not just a climate coordinator (aide) walking her around. She managed to break away and attack the student so violently,” said Palovcak.

After the protest, Palovcak and Brown met with Bauer who told them there would be an outside investigation and that he would be able to give more details after it was completed.

“We won’t have any answers on that until close to the end of the school year, unfortunately,” she said. “I wasn’t really happy with that. He couldn’t answer many questions we had.”

Christine Liberaski, director of school and community engagement for North Penn, said, “We were aware of the protest and did want to hear concerns. Our superintendent spoke with the organizer and offered to meet in person, and that meeting was held this afternoon.”

One female student who spoke to DVJournal but declined to give her name said, “I go to school to learn, not to be afraid. I shouldn’t have to be annoyed and stressed about what things are going to happen to me. And that the district was lying to us that they would protect us. They said they would do everything in their power to protect us, and they didn’t.”

Another girl said, “It was scary. It was traumatizing. We were reassured we were going to be safe in school.  And I don’t know why they brought this student to school.”

The first girl added, “We had to watch them clean up the blood.”

Sarah Batory, the mother of a 13-year-old boy in seventh grade, said, “He was in close proximity when it occurred, and he has given me a recount of visuals I wish I had never heard.”

Asked if the school provided counseling, she said her son stayed home on Thursday and Friday after the Wednesday attack, and nothing was offered to him when he returned to school on Monday. “He has not left his room. He has not wanted to talk to anybody,” she said.

Parent Shannon Main said she wants to see changes.

“I think the [school] board needs to change, and the administration needs to change,” Main said. “I hope they will tell us what they know about what happened and how we can avoid it.”

“Somebody needs to be held accountable,” said Palovcak. “An innocent little girl was attacked.”

The 13-year-old alleged attacker, who was born a boy and identifies as a girl, was charged and appeared in juvenile court Monday. A Montgomery County District Attorney spokesperson said she could not comment on a juvenile court case.

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