News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, April 24, 2013
DENMARK, S.C. (WRDW) -- The past few days have been tough for Lasonia Sojourner of Denmark.
"I try not to let my emotions show," she told News 12, before pausing to collect herself.
Needless to say, it's been tough for Sojourner.
"It has just caused so much hurt, so much pain, and I pray that no other family has to go through this," she said.
Last week, she got call from a guidance counselor at Denmark-Olar Middle School. She says the counselor told her there was a rumor going around that her 13-year-old daughter had sex in an unsupervised locker room.
She says the only finite evidence the school had was four pairs of underwear found in the locker room.
Sojourner says what happened next was a witch hunt by faculty that caused the rumor to spread even more. She says the confidentiality of her daughter's identity was compromised over and over as a teacher and the guidance counselor interrogated students.
"It's like she pieced everything and puzzled everything and nothing would fit, and she still forced misleading information into a puzzle and caused a fire," she said. "A fire that continued to spread."
Nevertheless, her daughter was suspended for giving conflicting information. They said she was in the gym during fourth period and not during second period as her daughter had suggested. As it turns out, Sojourner says, her daughter was in the gym during both periods.
On Tuesday, in a meeting between the family, the principal, the guidance counselor and the superintendent, Superintendent Thelma Sojourner, who is related to Lasonia by marriage but said she's still impartial, finally realized it was all just rumor, and the suspension was lifted and Lasonia's daughter was exonerated to some extent.
"[The superintendent] said, as a school, we have damaged these children," Lasonia says.
Lasonia even got a personal apology from the principal, Daryl Brockington, but she says that's not good enough neither for her nor her daughter.
"It definitely hurts," she said of the incident. "It burns."
Superintendent Sojourner confirmed that she did cut the meeting short on Tuesday because of all the rumors, but she couldn't tell News 12 much, since it's still technically an active investigation.
Lasonia also says the guidance counselor nonchalantly told her about a previous sexual assault in the locker room and even named names, which she says is certainly against district confidentiality policy and inappropriate, at the very least.
The superintendent couldn't tell us if the counselor will face disciplinary action or even be fired.