Sexual misconduct in school can be devastating for any student. We've all heard stories of students facing allegations later proven to be false, like what happened to three members of Duke's lacrosse team, or the University of Virginia fraternity brothers accused of gang rape. But what happens if your child is implicated in sexual misconduct while in high school? You've now entered the murky world of Title IX sexual misconduct allegations.
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
More than 45 years ago, Congress enacted Title IX as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. While the law began to ensure gender-neutral decisions for school admissions, athletics, benefit determinations, and employment, the legislation has expanded over the years and through regulation and case law. Now, Title IX covers sexual misconduct in schools that accept federal funding, encompassing K-12 education as well as colleges and universities.
Extensive Knowledge of Title IX Procedures and State and Federal Law
In many ways, colleges and universities are further ahead in their development and understanding of procedures and policies to protect students from sexual misconduct under Title IX. But they are also light years ahead of K-12 schools concerning the due process needed to protect those accused of Title IX violations. Some high schools won't offer students a “full and fair hearing,” act from a presumption of guilt, and impose strict sanctions and even expulsion without hearing all of the evidence. As a result, you need to ensure that you hire a Title IX advisor experienced in handling high school Title IX claims and well versed in federal Title IX law, procedures, and regulations.
Most high school students and their parents have little to no experience investigating allegations of misconduct. Hiring an experienced student rights attorney can help you take the initiative, ensuring that you fully understand the charges, view all of the evidence, have an advisor on hand to protect your rights, and cross-examine all witnesses.
Keeping High Schools Accountable
Title IX also prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports a violation. For example, a Birmingham, Alabama board of education fired a high school basketball coach after he reported Title IX inequities involving his school's treatment of the girls' basketball team. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law prohibits such explicit and implicit retaliation. See Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, 544 U.S. 167 (2005). As a result, Title IX protects parents, students, teachers, and school staff from retaliation.
Experienced Student Rights Defense Attorney
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped thousands of students and school employees across the country. If your child is involved in a Title IX high school investigation, Joseph D. Lento can help. Give us a call at 888-555-3686 or contact us through our online form.