Student sexual harassment in Philadelphia affects your ability to not only learn but succeed in school and the world. It can cause severe anxiety, low self-esteem, embarrassment, and an overall sense of shame, among other issues. Whether sexual harassment occurs on a college campus, in an elementary, middle, or high school, or even an event that may result in an unbearable education environment, the behavior is illegal. Sexual harassment in a school can occur between 2 students, a student, and a professor or teacher, or a student and an administrator or school employee, it is illegal and is never acceptable. For over 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group has helped students who have been sexually harassed get the compensation they deserve.
Student Sexual Harassment in Philadelphia
Student sexual harassment in Philadelphia occurs when a student experiences unwanted sexual contact, advances, requests for sexual favors, or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The harassment can come from a fellow student, teacher/professor, administrator, or employee of a school. It can also occur at any age. A child in grade school can be the victim of sexual harassment in school in the same manner a college student can be the victim of sexual harassment. The harassment may occur on school property, at a school-sponsored event, or even in a place where the student will experience an extreme distraction to his learning environment following the harassment, such as a frat party.
Federal and state laws are in place to protect students from sexual harassment.
1. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.. Under Title IX, it is illegal to discriminate against any student or school employee based on sex. This includes sexual harassment. The law impacts any educational institution that accepts federal funding This is basically all colleges as long as they accept federal student financial aid payments and grant money from federal entities.
2. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. The PHRC protects students in Pennsylvania from all forms of discrimination in school, including sexual harassment. The laws states that a student has a right to learn without worrying about discrimination.
In order for a student to prove sexual harassment in a learning environment, one of two things must occur: a quid pro quo relationship or a hostile environment.
1. Quid pro quo. The literal meaning of quid pro quo is “this for that.” When proving a quid pro quo student sexual harassment case, you must show that you were offered something in exchange for sexual favors.
2. Hostile Environment. The other way you can prove sexual harassment as a student is through showing you are learning in a hostile environment. This could be due to retaliation or a culture of sexual harassment and sexism in your school.
Student sexual harassment or Title IX claims in Philadelphia can take many different forms. Some examples of student sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
• A professor promises you an A in the class if you sleep with him
• A fellow student repeatedly asks you for a date and refuses to take no for an answer
• A student begins stalking you and leaving notes under your dorm room door
• At a frat party, you are told that you cannot stay unless you take off your shirt and bra. You are then ridiculed for leaving
• Your teacher gropes you every time you pass by her in the hall
• You’re kicked out of a club because you complained to the administration that the teacher in charge was using gender slurs against women
• A fellow student constantly says he is going to rape you and then says it is a joke
• A teacher sends lude and sexist jokes out through the student email database monthly
• You are expelled from school because you refused to go on a date with your principal
• You are not allowed to play football because you complained to the administration about your coach’s sexist attitude towards the cheerleaders, including sexual comments
Under Title IX, you have two options. First, you can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). You must do this within 180 days of the last incident of sexual harassment. The OCR will then investigate the claim.
The other option is to file a lawsuit in federal court under Title IX. Pennsylvania law provides a time limit of 2 years to file a lawsuit for student sexual harassment.
Another option is to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Commission of Human Rights (PCHR). The Commission allows you a time limit of one year to file a claim of student sexual harassment.
If you are a victim of student sexual harassment in Philadelphia, you are entitled to compensation. Some of the remedies available through the courts include:
• Reenlistment in school, athletic teams, clubs
• Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
• Attorney’s fees
• Removal of the individual responsible for the harassment
• Reviewing and revamping the sexual harassment policy
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
As a student victim of sexual harassment, you will likely want the case to be over as quickly as possible. A typical sexual harassment lawsuit may take 4 to 6 months to 1 year or longer to settle. If your school is willing to negotiate a fair settlement before going to trial, the case may be settled in as little as 4 to 6 months. However, if your school refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, you may need 8 months to a year or longer to prepare for trial and the trial may take another few days to several weeks or more until a judgment is entered.
As a student victim of sexual harassment in Philadelphia, it is not always easy to decide whether or not to pursue legal actions. However, while you are making that decision, here are a few things you can do to help your case move along.
- Consult an experienced student sexual harassment attorney immediately.
- If your school has a policy related to sexual harassment, follow it.
- If your school has a point person for you to report the sexual harassment, report it in writing.
- Gather evidence. Document every incident, including what occurred, when and where it occurred, who was involved and any witnesses.
- Do not waste time. You have a limited window to file a claim before it is too late and the statute of limitations runs out. Do not wait until you are out of time.
Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Student Sexual Harassment Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation.
No one should have to deal with sexual harassment while they are trying to learn. It is immoral, distracting, and illegal. If you are the victim of student sexual harassment, our team of prior sex-crimes prosecutors and all of our attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group in Philadelphia can help. We have already secured a settlement in excess of $15,000,000 on behalf of a client and we would be happy to help do this for you. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until we help you win your case.