A 15-year-old girl has filed a lawsuit against Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine after she was suspended for bringing attention to the unaddressed problem of sexual assaults at the school. Aela Mansmann found herself in trouble after she put sticky notes up in the bathroom that read: "There's a rapist in our school and you know who it is."
A male student complained to the administration, claiming he believed he was the target of the notes and that he felt unsafe. As a result, Mansmann was suspended for three days for bullying. She has appealed the suspension and is waiting to have a hearing with school officials. After other students learned that she had been punished, they staged a walkout in protest.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is taking on Mansmann's case and has filed a petition asking for a temporary restraining order against the district. The ACLU says that Mansmann did not bully anybody - she never mentioned the accused by name, and never claimed to be a victim of sexual assault. The ACLU argues that she was taking a "public stance as an ally for victims and survivors of sexual violence" and should not be punished for raising awareness about a very serious issue.
"I think anyone that has experienced any sort of sexual violence or harassment is especially vulnerable when they are going through their healing process, and to have an ally who is willing to advocate for that, I think is crucial and beneficial," Mansmann told NBC News.