School Sexual Assault
A senior at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH sexually assaulted a fifteen year old classmate. The police investigation revealed that the assault may have been part of a competition. The assaulter and his friends were competing to see who could “hook up” the most before the end of the school year. The assaulter is facing seven felony charges, but the others involved in the “game” may not be charged.
School Sexual Assault Analysis
K12 schools, and higher education institutions, are covered under Title IX, part of a federal law that prohibits sexual discrimination. Recent guidance from the Obama Administration warns schools that waiting to start an inquiry into sexual crime allegations until after a police investigation has been concluded is unacceptable. Sexual violence is viewed under the law as an extreme form of hostile environment/sexual harassment and must be addressed.
Schools need to plan for sexual assaults on their campus. Remaining compliant with Title IX means knowing how to secure a crime scene for law enforcement. It also means placing a top priority on reporting sexual assaults to the proper authorities.
In Indiana, and specifically in my school district, we not only contact law enforcement, but the Division of Child Services. We also conduct our own internal investigation, ensuring not to interfere with other investigations. Policies and guidelines should be in place concerning disseminating video files, if applicable, as well as other aspects of coordination with local and state agencies.
Any report of school sexual assault should generate an immediate, comprehensive response by the school.