Protecting Our Children: Addressing Student and Teacher Sexual Assault in California Schools

Protecting Our Children: Addressing Student and Teacher Sexual Assault in California Schools
February 21, 2024
Protecting our children_ addressing student and teacher sexual assault in California schools

Student-on-student sexual assault is a serious and prevalent issue in California schools. Yet, many schools fail to take the necessary steps to protect their students from these types of crimes. The
MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers is committed to fighting for the rights of victims and holding schools accountable for their failures to protect students. School systems are supposed to create a safe learning environment, but too often, they fall short of this goal.

Child sexual abuse is a significant concern in the local area, and all suspected abuse (either by a student or school employee) must be reported to the authorities quickly. While California Law is written to protect students, child abuse is still far too familiar.

Learn more about child sexual assaults among public school students below. Then, contact us with any questions or concerns you might have.

Immediate Steps for Parents in Response to Child Sexual Assault

As a parent, it is essential to take immediate action if your child is a victim of student-on-student sexual assault. The first step is to contact the school and report the incident. It is also important to contact the police and file a report. In addition, contacting a qualified attorney can help ensure that your child's rights are protected and that the school is held accountable for any failures to protect your child.

During such a challenging time, parents must focus on helping their child recover and process what happened. That is where a qualified lawyer can be helpful. At the MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, we can handle the legal aspects of the incident while you focus on healing. Let us make sure that all those responsible are held accountable.

Legislation and Legal Precedents Strengthening Victim Protections

Legislation and legal precedents strengthening victims protections

Recent California laws and cases have strengthened protections for victims of student-on-student sexual assault. For example, Senate Bill 1375, which was signed into law in 2019, requires schools to adopt new policies and procedures to prevent and respond to student-on-student sexual assault. Additionally, several recent court cases have held schools accountable for their failures to protect students from sexual assault. These court cases only serve to highlight the growing issue of child sexual abuse in schools.

How Our Legal Team Advocates for Victims of School Sexual Assault

At our office, we have a cadre of experienced and compassionate attorneys dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims of student-on-student sexual assault. We will work with you and your child to ensure that they receive the justice they deserve. If you or your child is a victim of student-on-student sexual assault, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.

Resources Are Available

For more information on student on student sexual assault and how to protect your child, please visit the following resources:

We advocate for all those impacted by sexual violence, and we will hold school personnel, administrators, and other school employees accountable.

Schools Are Responsible for Protecting Their Students

Schools are responsible for protecting their students

The issue of sexual molestation in schools and after-school programs is a disturbing and prevalent problem that has affected far too many children in California. According to California Education Code Section 44807, "The governing board of each school district shall adopt policies and procedures to ensure that all applicants for employment, including administrators, teachers, and other certificated and classified employees, are fingerprinted and undergo a criminal history review."

Despite the fact that schools are supposed to be safe places for children to learn and grow, the sad reality is that many school districts fail to adhere to this law and adequately screen employees, resulting in hiring individuals with a history of inappropriate behavior.

Understanding the Gravity of Teacher on Student Assault Cases

One particularly egregious case that our law firm handled involved a seventh-grade boy who was repeatedly molested by a teaching assistant on school grounds over a year. Even though the school had received complaints from other parents about the assistant's inappropriate behavior and social media posts, they ignored these red flags. They kept him employed, in violation of California Education Code Section 44807.

According to California Government Code section 815.6, "A public entity is liable for injury proximately caused by an act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment…" In this case, we argued that school administrators were negligent in supervising the school and hiring and retaining an employee who was preying upon children.

The Impacts on Child Victims Cannot Be Overstated

The impact on child victims cannot be overstated

This negligence is unacceptable and has devastating consequences for the children affected. In this particular case, the student suffered immense trauma as a result of the molestation. While we were ultimately able to recover significant compensation for him and hold the school accountable, the emotional scars will likely stay with him for the rest of his life.

It is imperative that school districts take their responsibility to protect children seriously and take appropriate action when red flags of inappropriate behavior are raised. This includes thorough background checks, screening of potential employees, taking complaints of inappropriate behavior seriously, and investigating them thoroughly in compliance with California Education Code Section 44807. Only by taking these steps can we hope to protect children from the devastating impact of sexual molestation.

Systemic Failures in School Districts: The Case of WCCUSD

For over a decade, the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) has been under fire for its poor handling of sexual assault and sexual harassment cases within its schools. The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) conducted an investigation into the district's handling of such incidents as a result of multiple complaints filed against the district.

The OCR's findings, outlined in their report, were damning. The report stated that WCCUSD had failed to adequately respond to and address reports and cases of sexual assault and harassment that violate Title IX. This is a federal law that prohibits discrimination due to sex in educational programs and activities. This includes sexual discrimination based on sexual orientation. The district was found to have lacked proper policies and procedures for addressing such incidents and had failed to adequately train staff on how to handle them. Additionally, the OCR found that the district had been unable to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for students, violating Title IX regulations.

In light of these findings, the OCR reached a settlement with WCCUSD, which included the implementation of new policies and procedures for addressing sexual assault and harassment, as well as training for staff and students on these issues. WCCUSD also agreed to conduct a self-evaluation and an external review of their policies and practices and to provide periodic reports to the OCR.

Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Schools Is More Common Than Most Realize

However, it is clear that the WCCUSD has failed to take the necessary steps to address the underlying issues that led to the sexual assault and harassment scandal in the first place. The OCR report found that the district's lack of proper policies and procedures was not an isolated incident but a systemic problem. Moreover, the fact that our law firm has had numerous cases against the district involving children who have been hurt due to school neglect highlights that the district's failure to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for students has not been fully resolved.

It is imperative that WCCUSD must take immediate and meaningful action to address these ongoing issues in compliance with Title IX and state laws such as the California Education Code, which mandate that school districts ensure the safety of their students. This includes not only implementing the policies and procedures outlined in the OCR's settlement agreement but also taking a hard look at the culture and practices within the district that allowed such incidents to occur in the first place. Only then can WCCUSD truly begin to address the growing concern of sexual assault and harassment in its schools and ensure the safety and well-being of its students.

Contact MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Contact MLG Injury & Accident Law for a free consultation

If your child has been affected by student-on-student or teacher-on-student sexual assault, don't hesitate to reach out to MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers. Our compassionate legal team is here to offer you a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. We understand the sensitivity of these situations and are committed to providing compassionate, confidential support to help you and your child navigate this challenging time.

Contact us today to protect your child's rights, and let us assist you during this time of recovery and healing.

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