Students at Babylon High School in Long Island staged a walkout Tuesday morning in support of numerous former students who reported being sexually assaulted and abused by past and current teachers, coaches, and administrators.

The allegations of abuse started when a teacher was removed last week because of “disturbing allegations.” After the teacher was removed, former student Brittney Rohl took to social media and exposed another teacher that abused her 10 years earlier. Her story has gone viral and it caused many other victims to come forward.

During a school board meeting Monday night, parents, victims and concerned community members threatened the Babylon High School board and told them that they would stage a sit-in until the board members removed any teacher that had allegations against them.

Parents said that they didn’t want to send their children to a school that actively had predatory teachers there. Because of their efforts, five teachers from the high school were reassigned to their home pending an investigation. These teachers continue to get paid.

Many alumni came forward to talk about their experiences and expose a “system of sexual abuse,” that they said had been present at the Long Island high school for decades. One of the speakers was Rohl who flew up from her home in Florida to share her story with the board.

She said, “It’s necessary. It’s disgusting that I have to come, but I have to. I can’t let kids enter this building under your leadership … I’m so mad that you are so incompetent.”

Rohl even threatened to expose the names of current staff members who have abuse allegations against them. The school has protected the names of the individuals since the alleged sexual abuse claims came to light and during the board meeting told the former student not to bring up such personal matters.

The crowd of parents and students erupted into angry yelling and told the board to “let her speak.” Brittney Rohl ended up naming four currently employed teachers, some guidance counselors and six former staff members who all allegedly abused Babylon High students.

Many other former students spoke during the board meeting and shared their stories through tears. One by one they exposed a decades-long system of abuse and coverings that affected their lives and well being. They claimed that many incidents of alleged sexual abuse were pushed under the rug by Babylon High School and sometimes even the student was blamed instead of the teacher.

“They pushed boundaries. They constantly wanted to see how far they could get … how far you would be willing to let them take it,” said former athlete Alexia Silverman. She continued and said, “This is behavior no one should have to deal with. Traumas no one should have to carry.”

An alum who graduated in 2009 said that she was abused by her tennis coach, who used to smack students on the butt with tennis rackets and rub the racket’s handle between girl’s legs while looking up their skirts. Other students have backed up the claims against the tennis coach and said that he also used to grind against students during practice.

The former student said that her home life was not great, and when she tried to tell teachers about it they never did anything. One teacher reportedly gave her a book, but never reported the abuse that she was dealing with at school. Her abusive tennis coach was the only person who seemed to care.

“If just one of those teachers did the right thing and reported my situation to Child Protective Services, I would have avoided years of abuse,” said the sexual abuse survivor.

Many of the former students who came forward said the sexual abuse at Babylon High School caused them to later abuse alcohol and drugs, cut themselves and think about ending their life. Today, some of them suffer from PTSD and extreme anxiety. They say they were made to believe that the abuse was their fault and that no one would believe them.

As the allegations against Babylon High School staff members continue to pile on, many people are calling for the school to clean out the predators. Ken Silverman, a father of one of the victims, said that anyone who abused or knew of the abuse should be removed from the school and not allowed back. He said that the problem is systemic, and according to Brittany Rohl, the abuse was not a well-kept secret when she was at Babylon High.

“It is inconceivable that school employees were not aware of these “rumors” back then, ” Rohl wrote in a letter to the board that was later posted on her Instagram. “I firmly believe that there are professionals currently working within the school district who knew back then and who were not surprised in the past few weeks. We probably aren’t going to be able to prove that, but I want you to know that we know.”

Alumni of Babylon High School are coming forward and talking about the sexual abuse that they experienced from their Long Island high school teachers. They said the problem went on for decades. (Credit: Twitter)
Alumni of Babylon High School are coming forward and talking about the sexual abuse that they experienced from their Long Island high school teachers. They said the problem went on for decades. (Credit: Twitter)

As more students come forward, school officials have applauded them for sharing their stories and applauded the current students for walking out and supporting their peers.

The school superintendent, Linda Rozzi, said that the district will not allow misconduct and will change to better protect their students. Officials say that they will be setting up sensitivity training for teachers, a secure email for students to report abuse and have hired a special counsel to investigate the claims. Some are saying that these actions aren’t enough and that they don’t believe the school can change without a serious investigation.

Rohl said, “Babylon High School is built on misconduct. If you don’t know that, I think that’s a crime.”