Sexual misconduct is traumatizing, life-changing, and easily every parent's worst nightmare. Alaska high schools take allegations of sexual misconduct seriously. When a student comes forward with information about sexual misconduct, school officials will take action. After all, your Alaska high school has a responsibility to keep your child safe.
Your AK high school also has a responsibility to consider your child innocent until proven guilty if your child is the one facing accusations of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, it could be easy for your student's school to rush their misconduct investigation or for school officials to take the accuser's side.
Title IX, a federal law that influences the way public schools address sexual misconduct cases, also impacts the funding schools receive from the government. You need to make sure that your student's sexual misconduct or Title IX investigation at your Alaska high school is fair. This means that you need to start now by being proactive about protecting your child's rights.
Do Title IX Cases Really Happen in Alaska High Schools?
It can be easy to hope that your child is simply too young, or that your student's school is just too remote, for sexual misconduct and Title IX cases. After all, Title IX sounds like a splashy, sensational term that you might associate with high-profile national media cases.
Unfortunately, these cases do happen - and they happen everywhere. Your child's Alaska high school may be no exception.
Just recently, the Anchorage school district had to investigate an incident in which several members of a school's football team allegedly assaulted a group of freshmen. While no parent wants their child to experience sexual misconduct, it is clear that these incidents happen. You need to prepare yourself to deal with the aftermath so that you can help your child work towards a successful outcome.
What Constitutes Sexual Misconduct in AK High Schools?
If your child faces accusations of sexual misconduct, you may wonder what that actually means. Your child's student handbook or high school code of conduct should make your school's position on sexual misconduct very clear. For example, according to one Alaska high school's code of conduct, the following actions may constitute punishable sexual misconduct:
- Sexually-oriented abuse or verbal harassment
- Pressure (even subtle) for sexual activity
- Any inappropriate touches, pinches, or pats
- Intentionally brushing against the body of another student
- Demanding sexual favors from another student
- Any unwelcome touching
- Interfering with another student's education with sexual activities
- Rape, or attempted rape
- Sexual violence
As you can see, there are many actions that your AK school may find punishable. Some of them are clear. Others are nuanced. As such, it's important to work with a legal team that will know your school's policies inside and out - and know precisely how to build a strong case for your child's innocence.
What Happens After an Alaska High School Allegation of Sexual Assault?
According to the United States Office of Civil Rights, all schools that receive federal funding must quickly address all sexual misconduct allegations under Title IX or related policies. To assist with this, the Office of Civil Rights has issued policy guidance materials to inform every Alaskan high school's guidelines.
To find out the specific due process that awaits your student, turning to your specific high school's code of conduct is key. That document will lay out the steps your school will take to determine guilt and mete out punishments. For example, one Alaska high school's code of conduct suggests that you could expect the following actions during your student's sexual misconduct investigation:
- Notification of the full charges against your student before the school makes any official disciplinary recommendations
- The right to a fair hearing before school officials
- The right to respond in writing to the charges against your student
- A fair hearing, held within 5 days after the school or any involved party requests that a hearing take place
- A full and complete copy of the incident report memo, which will include all evidence against your child and contact information for all witnesses
- A written decision of guilt, delivered within five business days after the hearing
- Fair and consistent disciplinary measures
- A short period of time (5 business days) in which you or your student can appeal the decision of the school board
- The right to representation and due process
If this is your family's first brush with your school's disciplinary system, you might feel discouraged and overwhelmed. You should also be aware that your school may try to offer you in-house representation. This might seem generous, but it's always best to find your own expert legal advisor. One reason for this is simple: You need a legal advisor that is completely loyal to you. Even if a school-employed lawyer is representing your child, they will always first and foremost be working for your school.
Punishments to Expect in an Alaska Sexual Misconduct Case
At the end of a thorough investigation by the school, the school will suggest restorative actions. These actions may include a wide variety of punitive measures, which may include:
- Loss of privileges
- Mandatory behavioral therapy
- A behavioral contract
- A direct hit to your child's reputation
- Expulsion or termination
- A ban from school property
- Difficulty applying for scholarships and future opportunities
An Alaska Title IX Advisor Ready to Help You and Your Student
If you're feeling frustrated, confused, or even scared as you face the prospect of helping your child fight through a sexual misconduct case, that makes sense. There's a lot on the line, including your high school student's entire future. Fortunately, you aren't alone. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced, effective lawyer with years of expertise in student defense nationwide. Whether your child's high school adjudicates their Title IX or sexual misconduct case through a thorough investigation or a formal hearing, Joseph D. Lento will fight aggressively for your family. Contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686, or, alternatively, you can fill out our online form to learn more.
Alaska 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:
- Alaska Gateway School District
- Aleutian Region School District
- Aleutians East Borough School District
- Anchorage School District, Alaska
- Annette Island School District
- Bering Strait School District
- Bristol Bay Borough School District
- Chatham School District
- Chugach School District
- Copper River School District
- Cordova School District
- Craig City School District
- Delta/Greely School District
- Denali Borough School District
- Dillingham City School District
- Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
- Galena City School District
- Haines Borough School District
- Hoonah City School District
- Hydaburg City School District
- Iditarod Area School District
- Juneau School District
- Kake City School District
- Kashunamiut School District
- Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
- Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District
- Klawock City School District
- Kodiak Island Borough School District
- Kuspuk School District
- Lake and Peninsula School District
- Lower Kuskokwim School District
- Lower Yukon School District
- Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
- Nenana City School District
- Nome Public Schools
- North Slope Borough School District
- Northwest Arctic Borough School District
- Pelican City School District
- Petersburg City School District
- Pribilof School District
- Saint Mary's School District
- Sitka Borough School District
- Skagway City School District
- Southeast Island School District
- Southwest Region School District
- Tanana School District
- Unalaska City School District
- Valdez City School District
- Wrangell Public School District
- Yakutat School District
- Yukon Flats School District
- Yukon-Koyukuk School District
- Yupiit School District
It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your child's Alaska 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 Alaska 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.