Sexual Harassment And High School Students
Sexual harassment happens among adults, who should know better. The fact that it happens in high schools everywhere often slips under the radar. However, the psychological impact of sexual harassment on high school girls has been shown to be extremely negative. In some cases, sexual harassment of female students led to suicide.
While the situation is bad for girls, it can be even worse for LGBTQ students. The Human Rights Watch recently gave the U.S. school system a failing grade for dealing with sexual harassment on the premises.
Are schools liable for sexual harassment?
Schools are liable for conduct that occurs on their premises. Schools are considered analogs to work, and workers enjoy specific protections under the Civil Rights Act. These protections also extend to students as well, but you rarely hear about sexual harassment lawsuits filed against schools. Nonetheless, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments makes schools liable for sexual harassment.
Part of the problem, however, is that what we would consider “sexual harassment” in the workplace is something that students and children would consider ordinary banter. They lack the empathy to understand how their words and conduct affect others or why their conduct is considered threatening in work and school environments. According to one recent study, 60% of all sexual harassment that occurs within a school happens right in front of teachers who do nothing about it.
Can anything be done about sexual harassment in high school?
Most schools do not have sexual harassment policies. However, the students they are training to become America’s workforce are entering an environment in which sexual harassment policies are the law. While they’re the law for schools too, public schools don’t face individual liability for lawsuits. Those claims are paid out of the City’s coffers. While a teacher can be cited for failing to intervene in a particularly egregious situation, it just doesn’t happen.
In one case, a girl reported that the boy’s bathroom stalls had become infested with graffiti concerning her sexual proclivities. The girl asked the principal to remove the graffiti, but the principal told her that having pornographic graffiti about her in the boys’ bathroom would strengthen her character. Her brother, who was home from college, went to the school bathroom and removed the graffiti himself.
Right now, most high schools don’t have a sexual harassment policy with obvious consequences nor do students have anyone to whom they can take concerns about sexual harassment. Essentially, the students are left on their own to manage the situation themselves. So the parents have protections that their kids aren’t getting and it’s harming girls’ ability to learn in the classroom.
Talk to a Jacksonville Sexual Harassment Attorney Today
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace (or at school) you should contact a Jacksonville sexual harassment lawyer and we can begin the process of getting the evidence you need to file a lawsuit. Call Carol M. Galloway today to schedule a free consultation and we can discuss your options in more detail.