BELOIT - "Listen to us." "Do your job." "We will be silent no more."
Those are the words of a group of around 50 Beloit Memorial High School students protesting what they say is silence and inaction by the Beloit School District Board of Education over sexual assault allegations made during a school band trip to Orlando earlier this month.
Although students said the allegations made by two students against a freshmen boy spurred the direct action, many said they felt the past year had been "chaotic" for the school district.
Beloit Memorial senior and co-organizer Gloria Heiss said she felt like the district was "crumbling around us."
"The fact is the school board hasn't been held accountable for a lot of their actions this year," Heiss said. "We want to hold them accountable to at least (the assault allegations) and get them to respond to something they should have responded to right away."
Co-organizer Lakya Jackson, who is also the student representative to the school board, said she's received complaints from students about the school board, saying "many students are unsatisfied and uncomfortable."
"We're unhappy about the silence they've been giving since the (sex assault) allegations, I think it's sad watching our district make such poor decisions," Jackson said. "It feels like the focus is drifting away from students, and we need to bring that focus back. We are here for the students."
Both Heiss and Jackson said students would protest the district's meeting later today.
The Beloit Police Department is in communication with the Orange County, Florida Sheriff's Office in assisting in their investigation into the allegations made by the two students.
"We are not providing additional details to protect the integrity of that investigation," said Beloit Strategic Communications Director Sarah Millard.
School Board President Pam Charles said the students "have the right to express themselves," also noting the protesters were "not at all disruptive."
The board will meet tonight at 5 p.m. at the Kolak Education Center, 1633 Keeler Avenue. A business meeting of the board will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kolak.