When we send our children off to school, we trust that teachers, counselors, coaches, and other staff members will not just meet their professional duties, but also make sure our children are safe. While most educators and school employees are trustworthy people, a select few abuse this trust by molesting or sexually harassing students.
If you’ve recently found out that your child has been sexually abused by a teacher or other staff member, you’re likely feeling angry and distraught. How was this gross violation of your child allowed to occur? How could it have been prevented? And who can be held accountable for these traumatic experiences?
When Can Parents Sue A School For Child Sexual Abuse?
In sexual assault and child sexual abuse cases, criminal prosecution is a vital part of finding justice. Before anything else, it’s crucial to make sure these dangerous predators are removed from their positions before they can harm other innocent children. Additionally, authorities must do all that they can to arrest, prosecute, and convict the predators who are guilty of these heinous crimes. However, criminal prosecution is only one part of the process. For many victims, it’s necessary to take the matter to civil court and seek damages through a lawsuit.
Like other sexual abuse cases, you may have the option to file a lawsuit directly against the individual who subjected your child to these traumatic experiences. But in many cases, the school district could have done more to prevent this abuse.
Title IX Violations
According to a federal law called Title IX, all schools are required to make sure all students are protected against sex or gender-based discrimination. Sexual harassment and abuse are included under this definition of discrimination. Any of the following examples of misconduct may constitute a violation of a student’s Title IX rights:
- Inappropriate sexual comments made by a staff member towards a student
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Sexual assault
- Coercing a student to engage in sexual acts
- Any sexual contact between a staff member and a student
In order to find a school liable for violating a student’s Title IX rights, you must prove that a school official:
- Was aware of the employee’s sexual harassment, abuse, or misconduct,
- Had the power to take corrective action, and
- Failed to address the misconduct
If a school is found to be in violation of Title IX, the victim and their family could have grounds for a lawsuit against the district and/or city.
Negligent Hiring or Supervision
School districts have a legal obligation to properly vet all employees and make sure they don’t have a history of sexual abuse. If a school fails to run a background check on a new employee or fails to fire an employee who sexually abused a student, they may be considered negligent and be held liable for damages suffered by the student and their family. Additionally, schools can be held liable if a lack of proper supervision allowed the sexual abuse or misconduct to occur.
Parents File $11 Million Notice Of Claim Against City For Their Child’s Sexual Abuse
The parents of a teenage boy who claims he was sexually abused by a teacher from his Brooklyn high school have filed an $11 million notice of claim against the city of New York, alleging that the city failed to protect their son from the abuse. This notice of claim is the first step in filing a lawsuit. The teacher was arrested in October for allegedly groping and having sex with the 16-year-old student since February. A Brooklyn grand jury is currently deciding if they will indict the teacher for the alleged abuse.
Taking Legal Action For Sexual Abuse Victims
If your child has been sexually abused by a school staff member, it’s important to be aware of your legal rights. Our Brooklyn personal injury lawyers can help you find justice and accountability. To find out more about how you can hold your school responsible for allowing your child to be abused, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.