Title IX investigations, allegations of sexual misconduct: Very likely, when you enrolled your teenager in a District of Columbia high school, the last thing you expected were these types of splashy-sounding, entirely worrisome events. Now, your child faces punishments, lengthy student discipline procedures, and a marred reputation that could affect their entire future.
If it sounds like there's a lot at stake, there is. District of Columbia high schools take sexual misconduct very seriously. Your high school has a responsibility to keep every child safe. According to Title IX, a national law that influences how publicly-funded schools must adjudicate sexual misconduct investigations, your school must respond to all allegations immediately or risk losing their funding.
Despite this incentive to act quickly, your school also has responsibilities towards the accused. If your child faces allegations of sexual misconduct, your school needs to afford them a presumption of innocence. Your school must also notify your child promptly regarding their charges, give them a fair investigation and hearing, and ensure that your child has the opportunity to defend themselves at every turn.
This means that you can take action to protect your child's future. By teaming up with a clever, competent Title IX and sexual misconduct advisor now, you can work to build a strategic case for your child's innocence and a successful outcome.
Do Title IX Cases Really Happen in District of Columbia High Schools?
It can be difficult to acknowledge the fact that sexual misconduct happens. After all, your child is young. Your high school seems cozy and familiar. It may just not seem like the type of place where untoward events happen.
Unfortunately, this is an illusion. Just recently, two DC-area high school students faced accusations for assaulting younger girls. Officers arrested them at their high schools. The Washington Post has also reported that, perhaps because of these types of cases, DC parents want school systems to focus more on sexual misconduct.
Due to both legal requirements and heightened social pressures, your District of Columbia high school may respond to allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously. It's important to know how to support your child so that their alleged actions do not impact their future.
District of Columbia High School Disciplinary Procedures: What Can Your Child Expect?
When you're starting to learn more about what your child has done and what the potential ramifications may be, it's a good idea to turn to your school's student handbook or code of conduct. All of the specific actions that your school finds punishable should be in that document. Additionally, the document will contain all of the steps that your school will follow to adjudicate matters of student misconduct.
One DC high school's code of conduct suggests that the recommended consequence will vary depending upon the severity of the accusation. For example, your school might recommend suspension for one count of sexual harassment, such as stalking. Repeated lower-level infractions or the occurrence of a dangerous assault (such as rape) may result in expulsion and a referral to external law enforcement.
The District of Columbia has issued a student discipline guide for all of its schools that, notably, lists out the rights that your child has during their disciplinary process. These rights include:
- Access to Education during Suspensions
- Fair Time Limits on Suspensions
- Timely Notifications Regarding Their Charges
- A Fair Hearing
Why You Should Hire a Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Advisor
If this is your family's first brush with your school's disciplinary system, you might experience a lot of very overwhelming events very quickly. Previously, you might have felt that you could rely upon your school for support. Now, it may seem like your school's completely turned against you, placing you and your student in an adversarial position.
Your school will work in its best interest. If your child faces accusations of sexual misconduct, your school may not feel that aligning itself with your child is best for their image. You need to take immediate action to ensure that your school does not do your student a disservice in the name of maintaining its own reputation.
There are several reasons you should consider hiring your own counsel, including:
- Loyalty. Your school may offer one of their legal professionals, but it's important to know that they will, first and foremost, be loyal to your school. This could prove problematic in a trial.
- Peace of Mind. Knowing that you're giving your child their best chance with expert recommendation will allow you to worry less - and have more energy to support your child.
- No Confusion and Clarity of Process. Figuring out how to draft documents, represent yourself at meetings, and navigate due process can be overwhelming. Your legal advisors will know precisely how to guide your family through the processes ahead.
- Your Child's Future. Ultimately, your child is going to need assistance protecting themselves so that their past alleged actions do not impact their future before it begins. Working with a professional legal team will give your child the advantage they need to avoid a tarnished reputation.
An Experienced District of Columbia Title IX Advisor
To give your student their best chance as they begin to fight their high school sexual misconduct case, you need empathetic, expert representation. You need a legal professional that knows how to manage Title IX and sexual misconduct issues at the high school level because they've been doing it for years.
That's precisely what the Lento Law Firm brings to the table. Joseph D. Lento has spent years aggressively (and successfully) defending students from sexual misconduct allegations nationwide. Joseph D. Lento will provide you confidential, loyal, and strategic support during this difficult time for your family. No matter what your high school Title IX hearing in the District of Columbia entails, whether it be a formal investigation or an adjudicative hearing, Joseph D. Lento will help guide your student to a successful outcome.
To learn more, contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.