Student sexual harassment in New Jersey is gender discrimination and is illegal. It can happen to a male or female and come from a student, teacher/professor, administrator, or employee of the school. It can occur on or off school property and even at events that are not sanctioned by the school. Experiencing sexual harassment as a school student is terrifying and can be detrimental to your long-term mental health as well as your education. For over 25 years, the attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of student sexual harassment in New Jersey, like you, get the compensation they deserve.
Student Sexual Harassment in New Jersey
Student sexual harassment in New Jersey occurs when a student, teacher/professor, administrator, or employee of the school makes unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical sexual contact with a student. The sexual harassment can occur off-campus, in the school parking lot, in an elementary, grade, or high school, or even a studio where you may take a class. It may occur at a school-sponsored function or even at an event where the harassment is so bad it makes going back to school unbearable. Many laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 makes sexually harassing a student illegal in New Jersey. Whether a man or woman is harassing a person of the same sex or different sex, student sexual harassment is a form of discrimination on campus and should never be tolerated or excused.
State and Federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) can be applied to sexual harassment in schools against students, however, there are specific laws geared towards student sexual harassment specifically.
1. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits any school to discriminate against a student on the basis of sex. This means the school and any people that work within or attend the school are prohibited from sexually harassing another student.
2. New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. This law is designed to prohibit harassment and bullying against students in school, at school-sponsored events on school buses, and off-school property. This includes sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment against students in New Jersey requires one of two situations to occur: quid pro quo or it must create a hostile environment.
1. Quid pro quo. The literal meaning is “this for that.” A quid pro quo action is when a student is promised something in exchange for sexual favors. For instance, a teacher may promise a student an A in the class if she sleeps with him, or a student may promise to write a term paper for a student if he goes on a date with him.
2. Hostile Environment. A hostile environment is when unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal and/or physical sexual conduct is both severe and frequent. As a result, it changes the environment in which a student is attempting to learn and makes it unbearable and impossible to learn.
Student sexual harassment in New Jersey may take on many forms, from sexist remarks to sexual advances, to even rape or assault. Here are some examples of student sexual harassment in New Jersey:
• Your professor promises to give you an A if you perform sexual favors for him
• Your teacher insists on showing the class pornographic material in his slide decks
• A student promises to write your term paper if you go on a date with him
• A student will not stop asking you out even though you have made it very clear you are not interested
• A student has hacked into the student database and emails sexually explicit photos to all of the students on a weekly basis
• Your athletic coach will not let you play in the game next week because you told him you didn’t appreciate the use of sexist slurs towards women while he spoke
• You were suspended from school because you reported your principal who constantly spoke about the young female students in a sexual way
• The janitor at your school gropes you every time he sees you alone in the hallway
• You are told to leave a frat party because you will not get naked at the door. The frat members then spread rumors about you sleeping with them at the party all over school.
If you wish to file a claim and request an investigation under Title IX, you must file a claim with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within 180 days of the last incident of student sexual harassment. The OCR will investigate the claim and provide you with an administrative hearing to settle the claim.
You also have the right to file a lawsuit with the courts under Title IX and bypass the OCR. The time limit to file this lawsuit is 2 years from the date of the last incident of harassment.
The New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act does not provide a time limit to file a claim with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. However, it is always suggested to file sooner rather than later.
If you are a victim of student sexual harassment, it makes sense you would want to seek justice and compensation. The courts may over several remedies, including, but not limited to:
• Reinstatement to school, sports, and clubs
• Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
• Termination or removal of person responsible for harassment
• Review and revamp student sexual harassment policy
• Attorney’s fees
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
A student sexual harassment lawsuit may take 4 to 6 months to a year or longer to settle. If your school is willing to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement, the case may be completed within 4 to 6 months, without ever stepping foot in a courtroom. However, if your school wants to got to trial, the trial preparation can take 8 months to a year or more. The trial may then take an additional few days to several weeks or longer until a judgment is entered.
As a victim of student sexual harassment, it is up to you whether you file a lawsuit against your school. The reasons to file include getting the justice you deserve and helping the school to see they must change their behavior. However, while you make this decision, there are a few things you can do to help move your case along should you choose to file.
1. Contact an experienced student sexual assault attorney immediately.
2. If your school has a department that you can use to report student sexual harassment, file a report in writing.
3. If your school has a student sexual harassment policy, follow it.
4. Gather evidence. Document every incident, including what occurred, where and when it occurred, who was involved, and whether there were any witnesses.
5. Do not waste time. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim for student sexual harassment. Do not wait until your time runs out.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Student Sexual Harassment Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation.
All students have a right to learn in an environment free from sexual harassment. If you are the victim of student sexual harassment in New Jersey, our team of experienced prior sex-crimes prosecutors at the Derek Smith Law Group in New Jersey can help. Contact us today at (973) 388-8625 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.