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California student allegedly had a sex tape exposed. The school held a rally to support her

They held signs and exchanged chants of “hear our voice” and “enough is enough” on Wednesday morning in Placer County.

On the corner of Victory Lane and Stanford Ranch Road, just down the hill from Rocklin High School, a group of about 150 students, mothers, grandmothers, fathers and community members protested peacefully in support of those who have allegedly been bullied on campus in recent months by fellow classmates. The rally happened during the first period of classes and lasted about an hour.

The support was specific to Ava Messina, the Rocklin sophomore softball player who last week emotionally addressed the Rocklin Unified School District board about her concerns about harassment on her campus by members of the football team. This included, she said, a sophomore football player who videotaped a consensual sex act with her in November and shared it online and via direct text messaging.

Messina said she has gone from a 4.0-GPA student to failing three classes as a result of the anguish.

She told trustees: “I came here to speak about my experiences. In months, I went from being a well-respected, high-achieving student-athlete to a student that is categorized as a school slut. I live in anger due to the lack of justice. I will not be silenced.”

Messina said the recording and its dissemination were made without her knowledge or consent. Messina’s parents — Jake and Valerie — pursued criminal charges when they learned that the tape had been shared. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office in January confiscated the phone of the football player and is investigating, the Messina family said.

The family also told The Sacramento Bee that the Rocklin district has been slow to respond. Jake Messina, Ava’s father, said last week that after The Bee broke the story of her addressing the board, students heckled her on campus — so much so that he took her home. Messina’s parents told the board that their daughter has spent a lot of lunch hours in the library to avoid having garbage thrown at her by football players.

The district has instructed its teachers and coaches at Rocklin to not discuss the matter, Rocklin principal Davis Stewart said.

The hand-painted signs Wednesday included “we support you” in reference to Ava. Others included messages such as “educate your sons.”

Cynthia Davis held a sign that read, “Stop ‘Boys will be Boys’ BS.” She taught science for 27 years at Buljan Middle School in Roseville and had two children graduate from Rocklin High in the late 1990s. She mirrored the thoughts of a lot of the protesters who wonder why the Rocklin administration hasn’t done more to stop the retaliation.

Some at the protest Wednesday said they questioned whether the school takes the powerhouse football program so seriously, that it “is willing to sweep any of the dirty stuff like this under the rug,” said Ron Johnson, who was part of the rally and said he has a daughter at the school.

“The bullying of any students such as Ava, it needs to stop,” Davis said. “I’m pleased with the turnout here. We needed it. People need to hear us, hear these kids.”

Cars drove by in a steady stream, per the norm on a busy school morning. Some honked and received cheers. One woman drove by and offered a thumb’s down; another woman later offered a middle finger. There were no cheers for that.

Messina’s parents said that the football player hasn’t apologized for sharing the sex tape or the bullying, though the family did receive an apology from members of the Rocklin football team after they admitted to toilet-papering the Messina house weeks ago.

The district last week issued a statement addressing the family’s ordeal, saying: “While the school district cannot comment on personnel matters, student discipline matters or open investigations, Rocklin Unified takes these allegations seriously. Some of the incidents were brought to the district’s attention earlier this school year and have either been investigated or are currently being investigated.”

The Bee also has learned that a lawyer representing the family of the football player, who has not been publicly identified, hopes to address the district at its May 17 board meeting.