School District Fails To Address Habitual Sexual Assault Claims

    Civil Rights ExpertThis case involves a high school teacher who was accused of more than 10 counts of assault against female students over the course of his 15 years of employment at the school. The teacher was ultimately arrested and plead guilty to all counts. Dating back as early as the teacher’s 4th year of his employment (shortly after he received tenure), the school district received parental reports about the teacher’s inappropriate conduct. In spite of parental complaints adding up over the years, the teacher’s file remained devoid of any mention of complaints. During the teacher’s 15 years of employment, the school had 4 different principals, none of whom advised parents of the difference between formal and informal complaints. An expert in educational misconduct was sought to discuss a school’s obligations to track and respond to assault complaints against a teacher.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please discuss your background in setting safety standards as it relates to school districts?
    • 2. How long have you worked in this capacity?
    • 3. What obligations does a school have to keep track of complaints against a teacher?

    Expert Witness Response E-009510

    I have been involved in the sexual harassment arena, including dealing with prevention and intervention strategies such as establishing student safety standards since 1988. The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) requires that districts investigate complaints of sexual harassment and document the complaint and the investigation. Title IX requires an investigation which includes documentation. In this case, it appears as though the district was clearly in non-compliance with OCR, Title IX, and common practices. Unfortunately, complaints against teachers are often not taken seriously for a variety of reasons. I have previously served as an expert witness on similar cases.

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