Nichols Middle School held grade-level assemblies Friday to teach students about sexual abuse and consent in partnership with trained representatives from YWCA Evanston/North Shore, according to an email to families sent by Principal Marcus Wright and Assistant Principals Kathy Davis and Josh Seldess.

The school conducted the assemblies a day after District 65 and the Evanston Police Department launched an investigation into the alleged off-campus sexual assault of a Nichols student.

In an email sent Thursday afternoon to parents and guardians, Wright announced that school administrators and EPD were investigating the alleged assault and interviewing all students potentially involved and their families. Wright said in that email that the alleged assault involved multiple Nichols students and he added that administrators learned a video connected to the incident was circulating among students on Thursday.

Wright’s Friday afternoon update on the situation stated that the presentations on sexual abuse education and consent covered the following topics:

  • What is sexual abuse?
  • Consent and the law, including possession of photos and/or videos.
  • How to get support by talking to a trusted adult at home or school.

The presentations also referred students to the Love is Respect website, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has a 24-hour call line and educates people about healthy relationships, dating and personal safety.

As the Friday assemblies ended, every Nichols student had to fill out an individual exit slip to identify how much support they needed, according to Wright’s Friday email. Students could request one-to-one help from a counselor or other staff member, join a processing circle or return to their regularly scheduled class, the email said.

EPD Commander Ryan Glew told the RoundTable Friday that police have not yet filed any charges related to the alleged assault investigation. Glew said the student allegedly involved in the assault who became upset and injured a staff member Thursday was handcuffed as a safety precaution only and he said EPD did not arrest or detain that individual.

District 65 spokesperson Melissa Messinger declined to comment on the investigation and wrote she was “unable to share any additional details regarding the alleged assault.”

“Our planning efforts are designed to be authentic and responsive to yesterday’s events while maintaining a sense of normalcy in our school day and overall operations,” Wright wrote in his Friday email update.

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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