Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
All levels of school, from preschool to high school, are required to look after the safety of the children in their care. There are several laws that protect children at school, including multiple state and federal laws that seek to protect them from sexual abuse and exposure to abusive teachers, principals, faculty, and staff.
If your child was subjected to sexual abuse at school, or if you are an adult who realized you were sexually abused when you were in school, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today. Our national attorney for victims who were sexually abused at school may be able to take your case and fight to get you justice for the harm you or your child suffered. For a free legal consultation, contact us today at (814) 826-3586.
Laws Dealing with Sexual Abuse at School in the U.S.
Children across the country should be protected by multiple layers of law that help prevent abuse and sexual abuse at school. However, bad actors and systems that fail to look out for these kids often fly in the face of these laws, causing significant harm to children at various age levels. We will explain what some of these legal protections are and what options they give to help victims seek justice:
State Criminal Laws
Sexual abuse and sexual assault are crimes in every state. Each state has its own criminal laws which might have differing definitions of what acts constitute which crime. Nevertheless, sexual touching or sexual activity involving young children is illegal in every state. Laws protecting older children and teens vary from state to state, but most states make it illegal for a teacher or another person in power to have sexual contact with a student, or at least for adults to have sexual contact with a child significantly younger than them.
Filing criminal charges against an abusive teacher or faculty member is one way to seek justice. However, putting an abuser behind bars is often difficult and leads to significant stress without properly compensating the victims.
State Civil Laws
Victims of unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse can also sue their abuser in most states. For minors, this is often available at least until they turn 18. For adults who discovered abuse later in life, there might be statutes of limitations, depending on the state, that could limit how long you have to sue a school for sexual abuse.
Filing a civil case can help you get compensation for your injuries and the mental/emotional harm you faced, and it can force negligent institutions to pay punitive damages to the victims of their negligence.
Federal Title IX Protections
Title IX is a federal law that bars sex-based discrimination in educational institutions across the country that receive federal funding. While it may seem strange, sexual abuse at a school is, technically speaking, an issue of sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment as well. This often allows victims to use Title IX to seek justice for sexual abuse at school.
Can a Student Sue If They Were Sexually Abused at School?
If your child was abused at school or if you were abused at school when you were a child, you could be entitled to file a lawsuit against the individual who abused you. This can allow you to sue a teacher, a principal, or another faculty or staff member who did you harm, helping to bring them to justice. However, individual faculty members might not be the only people at fault.
In many cases, the school itself shares responsibility for the harm that you or your child suffered. When you sue for sexual abuse at school, the law usually allows you to sue the school as well. This can often increase the damages you can claim because the school is able to afford higher compensation for your injuries and mental suffering than the individual could pay. Additionally, schools could be forced to pay punitive damages to punish them for the effects the abuse caused you.
In many cases, the school is responsible because they failed to properly screen out unsafe teachers, faculty, and staff. They could also be responsible for failing to properly respond to past allegations or for knowingly covering up other abuses.
Schools can also be held responsible for abuse because they were the employer of the abuser. In many of these cases, the school pays for damages because their employee committed acts of abuse and sexual assault while working within the scope of their duties at the school.
Damages for Victims of Sexual Abuse at School
The mental and emotional trauma you faced will be one of the main elements that the court can compensate with damages. You can also claim damages for any physical pain or discomfort from the abuse and any medical bills that resulted from the events. In many cases, additional damages are ordered to punish the institution for its failures and the wrongs people suffered because of their negligence.
Suing a school can also put pressure on the school to change to protect others. In fact, many Title IX lawsuits will require this as part of the case; the school must respond and cure problems leading to sexual abuse.
Call Our Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault at Schools
If you were abused at school when you were a child or you have a child who faced sexual abuse in school, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today. Our attorney for victims who were sexually abused at school may be able to take your case and help you fight for justice. For a free, confidential consultation on your potential case, call our law office today at (814) 826-3586.