If your high school student faces code of conduct or Title IX charges, there's a lot at stake for your entire family. Sexual misconduct allegations likely weren't in your plan when you sent your child to a Maine high school. Now, your path forward may seem confusing and overwhelming. You may wonder if there is anything you can do to help assure your child of a favorable outcome.
Your Maine school has a duty to protect your child from sexual assault. Under Title IX, a federal civil rights law, and other sexual misconduct regulations, your school must investigate sexual assault and related matters or risk losing its funding.
Just because your school must investigate does not mean that it has the resources to do so well. This can result in adverse effects for your student.
Title IX and Your ME Student: High School Sexual Assault
It's every parent's nightmare that their child experiences sexual assault while in high school. After all, your child is young, and you've entrusted your ME high school with their protection.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that violent, traumatizing incidents do not occur on school grounds.
Allegations of sexual misconduct fly around ME high schools as well. Very recently, a case in a small Maine high school made national media. Allegedly, three teenage girls faced charges for spreading the word that a rapist attended their school. In another Maine high school, a male student stood accused of sexually assaulting a female peer while in a car in their school's parking lot.
While it's imperative to protect students from assault, situations like these can make it very easy for paranoia to set in. Unwarranted allegations of sexual assault are serious, too, as your child may be extremely aware.
According to Maine's Department of Education, every school must write and maintain a code of conduct that establishes policies to address, prevent, and punish sexual misconduct. The specific activities and behaviors cited in each school's code of conduct may vary from district to district. For example, one Maine high school's code of conduct notes that the school considers the following activities inappropriate and punishable:
- Inappropriate Displays of Affection
- Obscene or Indecent Gestures
- Possession or Use of Pornographic Material
- Assault, Including Rape
- Any Sexual Activity Without Consent
For the specific actions punishable as sexual misconduct at your school, it would be wise to analyze your school's code of conduct. However, be aware that the definitions can be general. Because of this, it's a good idea to consult with a code of conduct and Title IX advisor as early as is possible in your case.
Keeping Your ME High School Accountable: What Happens Next?
After a student files an official sexual misconduct allegation against your student, your school will likely launch an investigation. The scale of the investigation will depend on the severity of the alleged misconduct.
At this stage of proceedings, you may have to be very proactive in protecting your student's rights. Since your ME school has an incentive to move quickly through their investigation, schools may often erroneously side with the accuser in a case. You may have to work hard to ensure that your school does not infringe upon your student's rights at any stage of due process.
Your school will list out the specific steps in your school's sexual misconduct grievance process in your code of conduct. This school's code of conduct makes it clear that once a student presents a disruption to any other student's educational experience, the school has the responsibility to step in. Once your student has a note on their permanent records documenting that they stood accused of sexual misconduct, your student may find it difficult to get into a good college, or even start the career of their dreams.
Clearly, there's a lot at stake in your child's Title IX or code of conduct case. Reaching out to a code of conduct advisor is a good idea. An experienced advisor may be able to guide you through these complicated procedures while ensuring that your child receives all of their due rights.
Punitive Measures Your Child May Face
Sexual assault and misconduct allegations are serious. Your school likely has a range of consequences ready to mete out according to the severity of your child's alleged infraction. If you're wondering what's at stake for your child, it's likely a good idea to consult your school's code of conduct.
A brief perusal of this Maine high school's code of conduct indicates that there are many punitive measures your child may be able to expect. These may include:
- An oral warning by any member of the district staff
- A written warning, issued by the school district or your school's superintendent
- A written notification to parent by your student's teacher or the school district
- Detention during or after school
- Suspension from transportation, including bus privileges or parking spot privileges
- Suspension from participation in one-time athletic events or an athletic team
- Suspension from social activities or extracurricular events
- In-school suspension
- Removal from the classroom by the teacher
- Short-term (five days or less) suspension from school
- Long-term (more than five days) suspension from school
- Adherence to a mandatory behavioral contract
- Referral to mandatory counseling
- Permanent expulsion from school
- Referral to external law enforcement
A High School Code of Conduct Attorney-Advisor Ready to Help You
If your student faces accusations of sexual misconduct, you should know that the consequences may be severe - and may last your student's entire life. Consult with an experienced code of conduct advisor today to alleviate these circumstances. Joseph D. Lento is a driven high school Title IX and code of conduct attorney. He has fundamentally handled hundreds of student discipline cases, and he will fight for your student's rights as well. Whether you need assistance with a fair, thorough investigation or your student is facing an adjudicative hearing, Joseph D. Lento will help you protect your student. Contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686, or you can fill out our brief online form to get all the information you need.
Maine high schools where Joseph D. Lento can help as your child's student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following school districts:
- Acton School Department
- Airline Community School District
- Alna School Department
- Arundel School Department
- Auburn School Department
- Augusta School Department
- Bangor School Department
- Bath School Department
- Beddington School Department
- Berwick School Department
- Biddeford School Department
- Bowerbank School Department
- Brewer School Department
- Bridgewater School Department
- Brunswick School Department
- Bucksport School Department
- Buxton School Department
- Cape Elizabeth School Department
- Caratunk School Department
- Caribou School Department
- Carrabassett Valley School Department
- Caswell School Department
- Chebeague Island School Department
- Coplin Plantation School Department
- Deblois School Department
- Dedham School Department
- Deer Isle-Stonington Community School District
- Dennistown Plantation School Department
- Dresden School Department
- East Machias School Department
- East Range Community School District
- Easton School Department
- Ellsworth School Department
- Falmouth School Department
- Fayette School Department
- Five Town Community School District
- Flanders Bay Community School District
- Franklin School Department
- Freeport School Department
- Gilead School Department
- Glenburn School Department
- Glenwood Plantation School Department
- Gorham School Department
- Grand Isle School Department
- Great Salt Bay Community School District
- Hanover School Department
- Harmony School Department
- Hermon School Department
- Hersey School Department
- Highland Plantation School Department
- Isle au Haut School Department
- Islesboro School Department
- Jay School Department
- Kittery School Department
- Lake View Plantation School Department
- Lewiston School Department
- Limestone School Department
- Long Island School Department
- Lowell School Department
- Madawaska School Department
- Maine School Administrative District 1 – 77
- Maranacook Community School District
- Medford School Department
- Millinocket School Department
- Monhegan Plantation School Department
- Monmouth School Department
- Moosabec Community School District
- Moro Plantation School Department
- Mount Desert Community School District
- Nashville Plantation School Department
- Norway School Department
- Oak Hill Community School District
- Old Orchard Beach School Department
- Old Town School Department
- Orland School Department
- Peninsula Community School District
- Pleasant Ridge Plantation School Department
- Portland School Department
- Raymond School Department
- Richmond School Department
- Sanford School Department
- Scarborough School Department
- Schoodic Community School District
- Seboeis Plantation School Department
- South Portland School Department
- Southern Aroostook Community School District
- The Forks Plantation School Department
- Topsham School Department
- Upton School Department
- Waterboro School Department
- Waterville School Department
- Wells-Ogunquit Community School District
- West Forks Plantation School Department
- Westbrook School Department
- Westport Island School Department
- Windham School Department
- Winthrop School Department
- Wiscasset School Department
- York School Department
It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your child's Maine high school is handled properly and that the accused student's interests and rights are protected from as early as possible during the sexual misconduct investigative process. One major reason is because even at high schools where a finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct charges is made at a hearing, the investigation will set the stage for what the hearing panel is provided prior to a hearing (and what the hearing panel will in large part rely on at a hearing), and at high schools where the finding of responsibility is made solely through the investigative process, what takes place during the investigation itself will determine whether the accused student is found responsible or not responsible for Title IX charges.
Unfortunately, some parents make the mistake of not taking the necessary precautions as soon as possible when accused of sexual misconduct. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their school will be fair and impartial and will arrive at the truth. In a perfect world this may be the case, but in a perfect world, sexual misconduct allegations and Title IX charges would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at schools throughout the nation for many years, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an accused high school student's academic future is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX attorney advisor to high school students facing sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Maine and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National High School Title IX Attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.