Student Sexual Harassment

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Student sexual harassment can occur in any school at any time. Students can become victims of sexual harassment at the hands of other students, teachers, professors, administrators, and school employees. If you are a student who is being sexually harassed in school, you have every right to want to seek justice.

The truth is you are likely scared and ashamed. Your experience is not your fault. You did not cause the sexual harassment. You did not decide to ignore it.

You are entitled to learn in an environment free from gender discrimination and student sexual harassment. Whether the harasser is your teacher, professor, fellow student, administrator, or employee of the school, your school must keep you safe and act when sexual harassment occurs. You always have the right to feel safe where you learn.

What Is Student Sexual Harassment?

Student sexual harassment occurs when a student becomes the victim of unwanted touching or is subjected to unwanted sexual comments or behavior in an educational institution. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects any student within a school receiving any form of federal funding from such behavior. Title IX protects you whether the harassment comes from other students, professors, teachers, administrators, or employees of the institution.

Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual assault
  • Rape
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Sexist remarks that you make clear offend you.
  • Providing a victim with drugs or alcohol to gain “consent.”
  • Stalking
  • Voyeurism
  • Verbal sexual abuse
  • Sexting
  • Flashing
  • Lewd remarks and behavior

Title IX applies to all types of educational institutions receiving federal funding (including government grants and scholarships), including elementary, middle, and high school and trade schools, colleges, and universities. It also applies to school-sponsored events, such as proms, formals, sporting events, and fundraisers.

If you think you experienced sexual harassment in education, contact a sexual harassment lawyer to help you develop your claim.

What Are the Student Sexual Harassment Claims for Filing a Lawsuit?

You can file your student sexual harassment claim under a quid pro quo claim or a hostile environment claim. Quid pro quo means “this for that.” When it comes to sexual harassment in education, a person in a position of power within your school (a teacher, professor, administrator) can offer you benefits in your education in exchange for sexual favors.

For example, your professor offers you the opportunity to become a teacher’s assistant if you agree to sleep with her.

A hostile environment claim occurs when the sexual harassment is so severe and pervasive that it becomes impossible for you to continue your daily activities.

For example, a student makes offensive sexual comments to you daily. He tries to smack your behind, calls you offensive names, and asks to see parts of your body. He does this repeatedly.

You ask him to stop and report it to the school. It does not stop. The school refuses to transfer you to another class. Therefore, you stop going to class and fail the class.

What Does Student Sexual Harassment Look Like?

Student sexual harassment can take many forms. Sometimes, it can come across as a subtle mistake. Other times it occurs as an outright attack against a person’s personal space and wellbeing.

Some examples of sexual harassment in education may include:

  • A student tries to look up your dress daily. No one stops him.
  • A teacher has an affair with a student. The student is over 18. However, when the affair ends, the teacher begins to fail the student.
  • A frat boy slips a drug in your drink at a party. Once you are knocked out, he takes advantage of you sexually.
  • The janitor whistles at you every time you pass.
  • A professor offers you an “A” for the rest of the semester if you provide naked photos of yourself.
  • The principal of your high school refuses to punish students who make comments about the way girls in the classroom dress.

How Long Do You Have to File a Student Sexual Harassment Claim under Title IX?

Title IX does not set a statute of limitations within the law. Therefore, the courts apply the statute of limitations found in state laws where student sexual harassment occurred. Furthermore, in some states, the time limit does not begin until you have a reasonable belief that the school or institution is somehow connected to the school.

To learn about the statute of limitations to file a Title IX claim for sexual harassment in your state, contact a qualified sexual harassment attorney. The sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group can help you determine the applicable laws and timeframes if you live or go to school in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or New Jersey.

What Remedies Are Available for Victims of Student Sexual Harassment?

Students go to school to learn. When they become the victim of sexual harassment in a learning environment, they deserve compensation. The courts may offer relief to help these students move on with their lives. Some remedies may include reimbursements for tuition expenses, payment for emotional distress and pain and suffering, and changes to school policies to prevent this behavior from occurring again.

Additionally, they may insist the school remove the harassing student, teacher, professor, employee, or administrator from the school to make it a safe environment for you again.

How Long Will It Take to Settle a Student Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

A student sexual harassment claim can take a few months to a few years to settle. When you work with a dedicated sexual harassment attorney, your case may settle in as little as 4 to 6 months. Your attorney will likely offer your school the opportunity to settle the claim before a complaint gets filed with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) or the courts.

However, your school may refuse to settle. They may try to take the case to court and hope the judge decides in their favor. In these cases, your case can settle at any time until the court enters the final judgment. The case may last a few months to several years.

Your dedicated sexual harassment attorney can help you negotiate with the other side to attempt to reach a fair settlement as quickly as possible.

What Are the Responsibilities of the School to Protect You from Student Sexual Harassment?

Title IX has very clear guidelines requiring schools to protect students from sexual harassment. If the school does not comply with Title IX’s requirements, it can be part of your lawsuit. These requirements include:

  • A policy and procedure that is both well-publicized and effective. This policy must have a definitive procedure of handling and resolving a claim of sexual harassment or assault.
  • A policy against sex discrimination is provided to every student and faculty member.
  • A school-employed Title IX coordinator.
  • A known procedure for students to file a complaint of sex discrimination.

Some examples of such policies and procedures may include, but are not limited to:

  • Removing your harasser from your classes or the school entirely.
  • Moving you or your harasser to another housing location.
  • Making accommodations for your academics if they suffered because of the incident.
  • Providing you with all necessary related information, including support services.
  • Protecting you from retaliation from teachers, professors, or other faculty or students due to you reporting the incident or refusing the advances.
  • Providing a formal hearing in which your harasser is not allowed to question you directly.

How Can a Sexual Harassment Attorney Help You Student Sexual Harassment Claim?

As a student, you are already vulnerable. Adding sexual harassment to the mix is traumatizing and can have severe long-term effects. If your school fails to protect you properly, you have the right to fight back. Our attorneys understand and are here to help.

When you feel vulnerable, it isn’t easy to remain objective. You rightfully may feel intimidated facing your harasser. A dedicated sexual harassment attorney can help you develop your case to showcase how your school should have and did not protect you. Your attorney will advocate for your rights to ensure your voice is heard.

Working with a qualified lawyer can ensure the courts know the relief you need to help you move on with your life and continue your education. They can stand by your side to help you stay strong during one of the most difficult moments in your life.

Contact Our Experienced Team of Student Sexual Harassment Attorneys Today for Your Free Consultation

As a student victim of sexual harassment, you deserve justice. Your trust has been violated, and we want to help you find that trust again.

The experienced team of sexual harassment attorneys and former sex-crimes prosecutors at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims just like you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

Did You Suffer Sexual Harassment in Your School Environment? Do You Want to Know Your Rights? Please Contact Us at 800.807.2209 or derek@dereksmithlaw.com to Learn More About Your Rights.

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