Sexual Harassment

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Schools say they do not tolerate sexual harassment. As the case of this Fairfield County high school shows, they will be liable in federal court if they do.

Most assaults by another student take place in middle school, but they can occur as early as kindergarten. Abuse means verbal, physical or visual harassment relating to gender, sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.

To fulfill their responsibilities to students and staff, schools must clearly communicate their policies regarding sexual harassment. They must promptly investigate reported incidents. They must take steps to prevent incidents from recurring. And they must address harassment’s effects on the victim.

As soon as they learn of harassment, officials must investigate. The Title IX Coordinator must offer the victim the chance to file a complaint. Officials must report to the victim the results of their investigation. If they found that pervasive harassment created a hostile environment, they must explain the steps they will take to end the hostility and prevent its happening again. They may have to teach the whole community --- again --- about how to prevent it.

If you think your child is the victim of sexual harassment the school ignored, call me. As a Connecticut Title IX attorney I will listen for how the details of your son or daughter’s experience fits within the law. If I find that you have legal options, I will advise you on the best course of action. If relevant, as a Title IX lawyer I can advise you on working with state and federal agencies that help parents take action regarding sexual harassment without actually going to court. Acting as your counsel, I can ensure that grievances reported to the school carry the weight of legal authority and that the school upholds its legal duty to stop harassment and support those who were harmed.