Child Sex Abuse At Charter Schools

charter school sexual abuse

Charter school sexual abuse is not as common as conventional student molestation in public schools. That has a lot to do with the fact that there are not nearly as many charter schools as public schools. However, as charter schools accept federal funding they are just as liable if a student is hurt, abused, raped, molested or otherwise killed or harmed while at school. Title IX, the law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in public education programs, is also relevant in application of professional standards within the context of private school sexual abuse and harassment and their response to alleged incidents.  All schools, charter or traditional public, that accepts federal funding for any program or service it provides must adhere to Title IX. Most public schools, including charter schools and specialized education service commissions, accept federal assistance and, therefore, must comply with Title IX. Compliance requirements include, among other things, the development of policies prohibiting sexual harassment and assault, prompt and thorough investigation of complaints, training of staff, and the assignment of a person who oversees implementation of the law. Whether in a public school, residential program, or private school, Title IX standards capture and represent the professional standard of care and the best way to prevent and address charter school sexual harassment or abuse of students while attending charter, public or private — which are foreseeable in any educational setting. If your child has been sexually abused, injured, molested or harmed while at a charter schools, public school or private school contact our charter school sexual abuse lawyers for a free consult. For the most part private schools receive no federal assistance or aid. Their funding comes in the form of tuition, fundraisers, etc. This precludes them from Title IX requirements. However, that does not mean they do not have a professional responsibility to protect their students from charter school sexual harassment or sexual abuse while at a charter, private or public school. The evolving professional standard of care in the field of education administration and supervision is that even if a private school is legally exempt from Title IX compliance, it has a responsibility to protect students from harm, such as that which may result from sexual harassment or abuse. In schools that do not accept federal assistance, the development of policies and procedures modeled after Office of Civil Rights (OCR) “Dear Colleague” letters to public school administrators will help to protect students from harm and may shield the school from costly litigation. The most recent letter begins by stating, “The U.S. Department of Education and its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) believe that providing all students with an educational environment free from discrimination is extremely important. The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students’ right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime.”

Title IX Standards & Private Schools

In any school, the overall administrative goal is to create a positive learning environment in which students can reach their academic, social, and emotional potential. A hostile learning environment, which can be created by ongoing sexual harassment and abuse, prevents students from benefiting from their education. This may present a cause of action under Title IX in public schools or under breach of contract in private schools. The elements of Title IX are universal in any educational setting, including private schools. When a private school applies Title IX standards in policy development and implementation, a positive effect on the learning environment will follow. One way for a private school to protect itself from sexual harassment allegations is to have a policy that conforms to best practices in the field. These best practices are found in the aforementioned Dear Colleague letters, which provide Title IX guidance and discuss application of specific elements of the law. Additional information from the Department of Education, including these letters, are available at the U.S. Department of Education Reading Room. Policies developed by a private school should clearly state that the school does not tolerate sex discrimination or harassment in any form by anyone: students; teachers; contracted employees; or other school staff. The policy must be published and disseminated to all students, parents, staff, and anyone else associated with the school or who would come in contact with students, such as bus drivers, cafeteria and custodial staff, or parent volunteers. Having such a policy, distributing it widely, training staff and others about it, and implementing it will help to protect students and the school. In private residential schools where students spend 24 hours a day on the premises, there is more opportunity for sexual misconduct to occur. In these settings, protecting children is particularly challenging. However, with clear supervisory policies and procedures that adhere to the professional standard in the field, training of staff and children, establishment of reporting systems, and immediate investigation of complaints, private schools with residential components will have a better chance to defend a negligence lawsuit. Private schools should identify a person in the school to oversee the prevention, identification, and remediation of sexual harassment or abuse. That person should be knowledgeable about the requirements of Title IX in public schools and the Dear Colleague letters, and should be able to apply the standard toward the development of school policy, inform the school community of its requirements, and monitor its implementation. The most recent Dear Colleague letter, issued April 4, 2011, provides guidance on the unique concerns that arise in sexual violence cases, such as a school’s independent responsibility under Title IX to investigate (apart from any separate criminal investigation by local police) and address sexual violence.

Contact Our Charter School Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys

Please do not think that your child does not have rights, and is not entitled to benefits, medical care, and financial compensation, if they have been sexually abused, molested, groped or otherwise harmed while attending a charter school anywhere in the country and Washington D.C. They absolutely do and our attorneys will fight relentlessly for your child in an effort to help the healing process. Contact our charter school sexual abuse lawyers and private school child molestation lawyers for a free consult. They handle child sexual abuse cases on a contingency fee basis meaning they charge zero legal fees or costs unless they recover for your child.

Liability In Child Sex Abuse Cases At Charter Schools & Private Schools

private school, Catholic school, Christian school, Hebrew school, etc. may sue for breach of contract or negligence, whether or not the school accepts federal assistance and is bound by Title IX. If the contract between the private school and parents specifically states or implies that the school will protect students from harm, adequately supervise students, or otherwise assure their protection, then a student who is sexually harassed or assaulted on campus or in the residence hall may file a lawsuit claiming breach of contract for lack of security. Additionally, a claim of negligence can be made if the school had policies and procedures meant to protect students from sexual harassment and abuse but failed to implement them. For example, in one of the cases we reviewed, a private school had no specific policy addressing sexual harassment of students by staff. A staff member, teacher, volunteer or coach used a school vehicle to pick up a student from her residence in the early evening to engage in sexual behavior. In addition to the question of whether the staff member was appropriately supervised, the school’s marketing material and the contract between the parents and the board of trustees clearly implied that students would be supervised at all times, including after curfew. The publications from the school specifically stated that students would be in a protective and secure environment. Because the student was not appropriately supervised, she was able to leave her residence and meet the staff member for sex. As the expert witness on this case, I reached the opinion that the school breached its own standard of care and was negligent by failing to adequately supervise students. This breach of policy created a situation that otherwise would not have existed and placed this student in harm’s way. Even in a situation where the private school does not have a policy covering sexual abuse or harassment, the prevailing professional standard of care will apply. For example, if a student tells the principal or headmaster of a private school that he or she is experiencing sexual harassment from a teacher, the professional standard is that the school administration follow through by conducting an immediate and thorough investigation. Though the school may not have a policy mandating this course of action, as an education administration and supervision expert witness, I can attest that the information and procedures published by the Office of Civil Rights are widely accepted in the field as the standard of care. The standard will emanate from accepted good practices in the field and from information provided by the Office of Civil Rights, regardless of whether the private school has a policy prohibiting sexual harassment. Failure to follow this standard may leave a private school liable for damages in the event of a lawsuit.

Let Our Charter School Sexual Abuse Lawyers Help Your Child

Do not let your child endure another moment of pain, suffering, guilt, remorse or shame if they have been sexually abused at a public school, charter school, private school, etc. Our charter school child sexual abuse injury attorneys will get your child the benefits and compensation they deserve. Please email our child injury lawyers here for a free consult. The charter school sexual abuse lawyers on our team charge no legal fees of any kind if they do not recover for your child. Proudly serving all 50 states, Puerto Rico & Washington D.C: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Texas, California, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Oregon Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Vermont, Maine, Nevada, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa & Idaho.