When parents send their children to school, they envision a safe place where young minds can grow, learn, and flourish under the guidance of caring educators. Unfortunately, with the alarming rate of sexual abuse crimes happening in schools, this is not always the case.
A perpetrator could be another student, a teacher, or a school administrator. In the midst of this disheartening reality, our lawyers at the O’Brien Law Firm are committed to helping victims.
Sexual abuse should never be tolerated. So, no matter whether you’re getting ready for back to school, returning from winter break, or about to go on summer vacation, follow our guide for information on how to recognize the signs and know the steps you can take to address this.
Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
While some children speak up about their trauma, many remain silent. Look for clues to know if a child is struggling.
Common signs of child sexual abuse include:
a sudden and uncharacteristic decline in academic performance,
- changes in eating habits,
- creating violent or sexually explicit artwork,
- difficulty sleeping,
- disciplinary issues,
- drug or alcohol abuse,
- reluctance to attend school or extra-curricular activities,
- self-destructive behavior,
- suicidal thoughts,
- and withdrawal and fear.
Liability for Child Sexual Abuse at School
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual violence, in educational programs and activities. Under this federal civil rights law, all public and private schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving federal funds must comply with this law. If proof determines the school failed to comply, they’ll be stripped of all federal funds.
The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations based on age (in employment only), ancestry, color, disability, familial status (in housing only), national origin, race, and sex. There are students unable to get the benefits of school due to unlawful discrimination. Under this law, students are therefore allowed to sue the school.
What to Do if You Have Been Sexually Abused at School
If you are a victim, seek help as soon as possible. Here are steps you can take to get the support and protection you need.
- Report the abuse to a trusted school official. This could be a teacher, coach, or other faculty member. It’s important to note they are mandatory reporters, so they are legally required to report sexual abuse allegations. Make sure you document your reports to such persons.
- Report the abuse to the police.
- Speak with a knowledgeable sexual abuse attorney, like Grant Boyd at the O’Brien Law Firm. Your attorney will understand your rights and options for seeking justice and hold the perpetrator accountable.
- Seek support from friends and family.
- Get additional support if needed. This could be talking to a therapist or counselor, joining a support group, or calling a crisis hotline for help.
Remember, you are not alone. There are people and resources available to help.
Speak With an Attorney at the O’Brien Law Firm
The shock parents feel to learn their child was sexually abused intensifies when the school district puts its own liability and reputation ahead of the child by denying the sexual abuse.
Families do not have to feel confused and powerless. At the O’Brien Law Firm, we’ll provide legal advice, protect your rights, and advocate for you as you seek justice.
Our attorney Grant Boyd has an established reputation for advocating aggressively and strongly on behalf of those who suffered survived abuse due to the negligent, careless, or unlawful acts of others. He acts diligently and fast to protect children, have the offender held accountable, and make sure that deadlines for filing legal claims are not missed.
If you or your child were a victim of sexual abuse at school, attorney Grant Boyd can help. Schedule your free case evaluation with the O’Brien Law Firm by contacting us online or calling us at (314) 588-0558!