Student sexual misconduct can be devastating—and associated charges and trauma can follow high school students for the rest of their lives. If the allegations are false, however, the ramifications can unfairly cripple a student's entire career. Title IX cases, or cases of sexual misconduct and discrimination, can be emotional, confusing, and difficult to navigate. If your student is facing a Title IX investigation, the best thing you can do is speak with a knowledgeable Title IX advisor early on in your case. Your advisor can help you be proactive about protecting your student's rights. If you take action now, you may be able to save your student's reputation—and their future.
Title IX Cases in Utah: Do They Really Happen?
Wondering if sexual misconduct cases happen in your Utah community? Title IX is a term often associated with large, splashy news stories in national media. It can be difficult to reconcile the concept of assault with your child and your child's peers.
Sexual assault in K-12 schools is a hidden issue, but that does not mean that it isn't happening. The Utah government Violence and Injury Protection Program noted that in recent years, “8.2% of female high school students and 5.8% of male high school students in Utah reported they were physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.” Those were the reported cases; likely figures could be much higher.
A brief foray into local news shows that sexual misconduct in small communities does occur. Three Utah high school students faced charges of sexual assault after an alleged incident. They had to stand trial and defend themselves in court. Stories like this are not hard to find. They paint a vivid picture of what could happen to your Utah student.
Title IX is a federal law that promises to protect your child from sexual assault or discrimination while in school. It does this by incentivizing schools to investigate all accusations of sexual misconduct quickly. It does not necessarily give your K-12 school the tools to do so fairly. You may need the help of an aggressive Title IX legal advisor to ensure that your school does not infringe upon your student's rights while striving to find justice for the accuser.
How Utah High Schools Manage Sexual Misconduct
Your school district must write, review, and maintain a student discipline policy, or a code of conduct. This document needs to have the contact information of your school's Title IX Coordinator clearly listed. Your school also needs to distribute this information to every member of your academic community.
The specific steps of your school's investigative procedure or grievance resolution process may be unique to your school. Utah, in particular, tends to change Title IX regulations frequently, in a bid to better protect students from sexual assault. As a result, your school may have confusing or little-known Title IX policies. Even though your public high school must adhere to Title IX tenets, your school may not have the time or experience to do so fairly.
The Utah Parent Center notes that your school may deem sexual misconduct part of a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy' for untoward student behavior. If this is the case, any action your school takes against your student may be swift and severe. The same policy, however, makes certain rights of your child during the disciplinary process clear. For example, an out-of-school suspension may not last longer than 10 days without violating your child's right to a free, appropriate education.
Since your student's school needs to act quickly or lose their funding, your school's adherence to your child's rights may be lackluster. It's up to you and your legal advisor to hold your Utah high school accountable to these posted rules and regulations.
Protecting Your Utah High School Student's Future
You and your family have likely spent years investing in your child's future. Once your child faces a Title IX investigation, that bright future is potentially at risk. Your student's reputation at your Utah high school may immediately take a hit. The consequences of a sexual misconduct allegation may be much more serious than even that.
According to the Utah code of conduct, there are several tiers of punishment which your child could face. Depending upon the severity of the allegation and your child's age and academic history, your child might experience any of the following consequences:
- A tarnished reputation among high school teachers and peers
- A required behavioral contract
- Reference to a counselor for ongoing treatment
- A mental health evaluation and potential ongoing treatment
- In-school or out-of-school suspension
- Lowered grades and potential failed courses due to suspension
- Reduced privileges, including the right to drive a vehicle, use a school bus, or participate in extracurricular activities
- Expulsion, or recommendation for alternative learning experiences
- Criminal charges, an arrest, or jail time
The range of possible punishments illustrates the high stakes of your student's Title IX investigation. An unwarranted punishment from a false allegation of sexual misconduct could ruin your student's chances of getting into a good college or following their dream career path. Take action now to ensure that your child receives their rights at every step of the Title IX investigative process.
A High School Title IX Advisor Ready to Help You
Joseph D. Lento is a seasoned and successful high school Title IX advisor. Over the course of many years, Joseph D. Lento has dealt with more than a thousand student misconduct and discipline cases—and been able to protect the bright futures of many students from unwarranted consequences. Whether you and your student require assistance with your school's Title IX investigative process, or if your school has offered adjudication through a hearing and need help preparing for it, Joseph D. Lento is here to help. A hard-working and aggressive Title IX advisor can cause your chances of a favorable outcome to skyrocket. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more about what your options are, or fill out this brief online form for more information.
Utah high schools where Joseph D. Lento can help as your child's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following school districts:
- Alpine School District
- Beaver School District
- Box Elder School District
- Cache School District
- Canyons School District
- Carbon School District
- Daggett School District
- Davis School District
- Duchesne School District
- Emery School District
- Garfield School District
- Grand County School District
- Granite School District
- Iron County School District
- Jordan School District
- Juab School District
- Kane School District
- Logan School District
- Millard School District
- Morgan School District
- Murray School District
- Nebo School District
- North Sanpete School District
- North Summit School District
- Ogden City School District
- Park City School District
- Piute School District
- Provo City School District
- Rich School District
- Salt Lake City School District
- San Juan School District
- Sevier School District
- South Sanpete School District
- South Summit School District
- Tintic School District
- Tooele County School District
- Uintah School District
- Wasatch School District
- Washington County School District
- Wayne School District
- Weber School District
It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your child's Utah 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 Utah and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.