FLOSSMOOR, Ill. — Homewood-Flossmoor High School students held a walkout Thursday in support of a student who was allegedly sexually assaulted by another student earlier this week.

The students took over Kedzie Avenue, blocking traffic in front of the school. 

The victim’s mother joined the protest, saying that the walkout proved that the problem was much bigger than one case.

“I feel like I should be able to feel safe at school,” said student Amari Day.

Saniyya Burton was among the protesters demanding change.

“They tried to cover it up,” Burton said. “Homewood-Flossmoor had many cases like this in the past. It needs to stop.”

The assault allegedly occurred in the theater department on Monday. School officials said students were working in small breakout groups, rehearsing lines at the time. The victim’s mother said students were not adequately supervised, adding that the school waited more than an hour to notify the family. According to the victim’s mother, it was even longer before she could see her daughter and take her to the hospital.

But in a statement, the district said staff followed proper protocols as soon as they were informed of the allegation.

“They wouldn’t release her right away. They need to change all of that. We had to demand to see her face,” the victim’s mother said. “If you can imagine being called and told by the principal of the school that your child has gotten raped and used the word ‘raped,’ and that’s all they tell you, but you can’t see their face, it’s a problem.” 

Some parents say the communication from the school about what happened has been misleading.

“I feel like the administration dropped the ball in notifying families, but this has been going on for many years,” parent Cori Burgess said.

Students said it’s not the first time they have raised their voices about alleged sexual violence on campus.

Aaron McIntyre says he was in a meeting Thursday with the school’s new principal and was promised solutions, including a student ambassador program and a new system to address sexual harassment claims before they can elevate to assault.

“I was told similar things last year and they weren’t put into place, so now it’s up to us to keep the pressure up,” McIntyre said.

Attorney Stephanie White and the mother of the 17-year-old student who was allegedly assaulted, held a press conference Wednesday, calling out school administrators for their lack of action in the incident.

White says sexual violence is an ongoing problem for the school. District officials declined to speak but said they value students’ voices and are working with police to maintain a safe walkout.

One parent told WGN News that the school needs to do more.

“I think the school needs to step up and admit first there’s a problem,” she said.

The male student accused in the attack was released from custody while Flossmoor police continued investigating.