Young Female Sexually Assaulted at Private School

    This case involves sexual assault at a school. The plaintiff, a twelve-year-old female, was placing items in her locker after school had ended. At this time, a thirteen-year-old male grabbed her by the shoulders, pushed her against the lockers, brought his hand to her backside, and pushed himself against her. He held himself there and told her not to say anything. She immediately reported the incident to her parents, and they contacted the school. While the older student was disciplined, he was not suspended, nor was he expelled. Additionally, the older male child had a history of inappropriate conduct at the school, with numerous complaints filed against the student. It is alleged, however, that the school had special relations with his family, which is why he was not expelled from their program. An expert in school violence and academic affairs was sought to opine on this case.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. If a school is aware that one of their students has previously been involved with various forms of inappropriate conduct, what obligation do they have to the other students who may be exposed to him?
    • 2. Is it the school's responsibility to ensure the safety of its minor students - specifically pertaining to incidents of sexual abuse?

    Expert Witness Response E-006297

    In this case, it appears that the school was negligent in their responsibilities to the plaintiff. If a student is subject to continuous disciplinary actions, the school must ensure that the student is not able to harm others. While the nature of his previous indiscretions is important, the student should not have been given the opportunity to assault the plaintiff. Furthermore, when school commences, there should be a level of supervision, especially if the older student had a history of misfeasance. Any special relationship between the family and the school need to be considered, especially with the relatively lenient punishment that the student appeared to receive. I would need to review the specific circumstances of this case, but it seems like the school did not fulfill their responsibilities in protecting the other students.

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