LANSING, MI (WILX) — Local victim rights organizations are banding together to educate the public and the Lansing Board of Education about sexual violence.

They’re hoping a letter and a petition will convince the district not to give the open superintendent job to a man accused of sexual misconduct.

Survivor Strong and the the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence are just two of the local organizations to sign off on the letter and share the petition.

Both explain they couldn’t sit by and watch Lansing Schools put someone in power with a questionable past.

“The children of Lansing are the future of Lansing,” Director of Survivor Strong Amanda Thomashow said. “So we have to recognize that the environment that they are educated in has to be a safe, trauma-informed, healthy learning environment.”

 

Complete with Citations and Examples both the petition and letter outline the reasons the organizations believe Mark Coscarella should not be Lansing’s next superintendent. So far, has more than 500 signatures.

“When somebody has a history of sexual misconduct or sexual violence…we might just see it as once incident. It speaks to the internal views of women and people and gender equality,” Thomashow explained. “What we know about sexual violence is it’s not really about sex– it’s about power, and so we don’t want a person like this in power. We’ve seen what can happen.”

The object of the documents isn’t to slam the district or Coscarella: it’s to start a conversation

“Less than 10 percent for sure of allegations of sexual violence are false reports, so we know these facts are out there but it seems like for whatever reason the escape the public imagination,” attorney and manager at MCEDSV Elinor Jordan said. “So as we look at the school board, we know they are going to be grappling with these tough issues. We didn’t want that conversation to not be an educated one.”

Both say they hope the district will listen to the letter and the people signing the petition and hope the district makes the right decision for Lansing Schools.

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