Students battle Sexual Assault at School

New York City – Sexual violence has become a major issue in NYC public schools. The NYC Department of Education received three different complaints in regards to sexual assault and sexual harassment. Students allege that reporting the misconduct has led to academic retaliation as oppose to the proper guidance and support they deserve.
A sex discrimination lawsuit was filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on behalf of young black girls residing in low-income housing who suffered from sexual assault in school. The sex discrimination attorney representing the students stated, “The New York City Department of Education has a rape crisis, especially when it comes to young black girls who live in poverty.”

Sexual Assault Incidents

The first report refers to an issue that occurred in April 2015. A classmate was accused of sexually assaulting another student who attended Spring Creek Community School in East, NY during the time she waited to catch the bus home. The sexual assault complaint says the attacker managed to clandestinely videotape his inappropriate actions. Later on, the footage spread around the school. The video footage displayed the attacker “penetrating her mouth and anus,” which left her body and private parts in severe pain.
After the sexual assault ended, the victim panicked and preferred not to eat. The rape was far too unbearable to go on with ordinary life. Although the victim in no way, shape, or form provoked the unwanted physical contact, it happened, and she needed support to get through this troubling time in her life. The video roaming around the school only exacerbated the entire situation.
In spite of the video evidence confirming the student’s sexual assault complaint, the administrative staff allegedly decided not to scrutinize the sexual assault complaint or allow an expert to resolve questions and concerns regarding the video. The staff allegedly attempted to remove the video from the mobile devices of the student body and encourage the victim to stay home until the harassment was “under control.” Sexual harassment is illegal, and the school was wrong for allowing the sexual harassment stemming from the sexual assault incident to fester as oppose to handling the issue the proper way and comply with the law.
The second report was filed on behalf of a student at Teachers Preparatory High School who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a group of seven young men in February 2016. At the age of 15, the young girl was physically in her transitioning phase into womanhood. The complaint describes the sexual assault as a forceful act of oral sex by two young men while the remaining five young men were on the lookout to ensure there were no interruptions. The two guys, who physically engaged in receiving oral sex against the victims will allegedly were not penalized for their actions. The victim reported the sexual violence to the administrative staff, which led to an accusation claiming the student participated in “consensual sex conduct on school premises.” As a result of the accusation, the victim faced a six-day suspension from school. Although the NYPD was conducting an investigation against one of the attackers, the school continued to suspend the victim.
The third report addresses a sexual assault incident occurring in November 2015 at Granville T. Woods Middle School. A young female student, age 13, was sexually assaulted by another student who was infamous for engaging in abusive misconduct. The administrative staff failed to cooperate with the parental request to eliminate common areas including classes and lunch periods with the perpetrator.
Under the circumstances, the school left the parent with limited options to resolve the sexual assault issue. The victim’s family decided to transfer the victim to a new school, which required the assistance of the Department of Education. It appears there was a delay on the DOE side that caused the parents of the victims to keep her home from school. The parent alleged the DOE threatened to involve the Administration for Child Services if the victim continued to be absent from school. The allegations were later denied by the Department of Education.

Sexual Assault is not a Coincidence

The sex discrimination attorney thoroughly reviewed the complaints of each case and identified that these three particular incidents were not merely a coincidence, but minute sectors to an epidemic. The discrimination is not exclusive to sex. It also includes “race and class.” No one is examining the issue that’s terribly affecting black girls in school.
The complaints revealed that none of the schools where the incidents took place abided by the federal law Title IX. Title IX protects individuals in an academic environment receiving federal funding from sex discrimination. No one informed the victims or their families about their rights or the sexual assault investigation, required by law that should have been conducted by a school administrator.
The complaint states the student experienced “retaliation and punishment” for speaking up. Most schools have guidance counselors, however, these victims didn’t receive any counseling.
In New York City, there is only one Title IX coordinator responsible for multiple schools totaling over 1 million students. It’s nearly impossible for one person to gain control over the sexual assault problem. The sex discrimination attorney said, “This is a Chancellor problem. Someone is refusing to prioritize sexual assault.”
The American Association of University Women completed a sexual harassment survey to determine how many students endured a part of the sexual harassment. The results indicated that 48% of the student experienced sexual harassment during the 2010 -2011 academic year.
The city agreed to review the sexual assaults complaints and submit a response to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) according to the Department of Education’s Deputy Press Secretary. The safety of the students and administrative staff is allegedly the most important concern to the city, and somehow sexual violence still manages to harm the youth of NYC, and get away with it. The policies designed for students safety failed to be followed,  which documents and handles incidents of sexual harassment.

Seek a Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you have ever experienced sexual harassment or assault in an academic institution in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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