Sexual assault is devastating. Parents entrust schools with their children, and when violent incidents occur, they can damage young children for life. All schools should treat allegations of sexual assault seriously.
However, this does not mean that every accusation is true. As serious and devastating as sexual assault is, an unwarranted allegation can be damaging as well. If your child faces Title IX charges relating to sexual assault, you need to speak with a Title IX and Code of Conduct advisor right away. Your school may not have a vested interest in protecting an accused student. Your child's future may rely on what you do today.
Sexual Harassment and Assault: Is it Really a Big Deal in Mississippi?
Is this really something your child is likely to have to deal with? As much as parents may hope sexual harassment and assault are not real, relevant dangers, the news tells a different story. In one Mississippi high school, five students were recently charged with sexual battery after an incident with a female peer. In another area high school, a cross-country team member faced arrest following allegations of sexual assault.
Title IX is a law - part of the Education Amendments of 1972 - that seeks to protect high school students from sex discrimination and assault. One of the ways it does so is by incentivizing all public schools to investigate all claims of sexual assault immediately. Doing otherwise will cost Mississippi public high schools their funding.
Unfortunately, this can have an adverse effect on the quality of Title IX investigations. Since schools have a vested interest in completing sexual assault proceedings quickly, they can often rush or oversimplify the processes. This can often result in unfair investigations, botched hearings, and overly severe punishments for the accused.
The Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault defines sexual assault as forcing someone to have sex without consent, enticing a minor, exposing oneself inappropriately, or a number of other sexual acts. Ultimately, the definition can be vague, which does not favor the accused in a Title IX hearing.
If your child faces Title IX proceedings at your school, you need to be proactive about protecting their rights. Hiring an experienced Title IX and Code of Conduct advisor may be your family's best chance.
Mississippi High Schools and Your Child
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights recognizes that every state has different problems and different populations of students. Because of this, they don't offer nationwide regulations regarding Title IX processes. Instead, they offer recommendations, and allow each state to create their own policies.
This has resulted in each state - and each school district - writing and enforcing their own code of conduct. In order to learn more about what to expect in your case, you will have to check your own school's documentation.
There are some constants. Your school must appoint a Title IX coordinator, and the contact information of that person must be publicly available. When an accuser brings an allegation of sexual assault to that coordinator, says this local high school's code of conduct, Title IX processes officially begin.
According to this Mississippi high school's code of conduct, the following punishments are all in play following an allegation of sexual assault:
- Mandatory signing of a behavioral contract
- In-school or out-of-school suspension
- Possibly lowered grades due to (recommended) time away from school
- A referral to alternative education - such as another school district, or virtual school
- Mandatory counseling
- Removal of privileges (including school bus privileges, parking spot privileges, or participation in extracurricular activities)
- Expulsion from the school or school district
- Criminal charges and jail time, depending on the severity of the stated offense
All of these punishments can seriously damage your student's high school experience. Some may provide a direct hit to your child's reputation at school. Others may have lasting impact. They may even mar your child's chances of getting into a good college or successfully starting a career.
If your child faces unwarranted, harsh punishments, it is vital that you learn about your child's rights today. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced Code of Conduct advisor who can help guide you through the Title IX and student disciplinary process.
Mississippi School Discipline: What are Your Student's Rights?
The Mississippi chapter of the ACLU makes it clear that your high school student has rights when facing unwarranted or unfair punishments. These rights include:
- Appropriate punishment. School officials cannot refuse to award an earned diploma, irrationally lower grades, or cause your student physical harm.
- Due notice. If your student's school wants to expel or suspend your student, your family must receive written notification and rationale.
- A fair hearing. If your student faces removal from school for more than three days, the school must set up a hearing to discuss fair treatment.
- Education. Even if your school district does expel your student, they must provide your student with an education up to the age of 17.
- The information you need. Your student has a right to view their disciplinary record.
If you feel that your school has ignored any of these rights, you need to take action to protect your child. By partnering with a legal advisor who has experience handling code of conduct cases in Mississippi, you can ensure your child has the future they deserve.
A Hard-Working Title IX and Code of Conduct Advisor
Your child deserves a bright future. If you feel that your school's Title IX proceedings may not benefit your child, it's time to take proactive and decisive action. Joseph D. Lento has handled hundreds of Title IX and code of conduct cases nationwide. Over several years, he's been able to help families fight for justice. Whether you need assistance resolving a case through the investigative process or are facing a Title IX hearing, Joseph D. Lento will be able to help. Call the Lento Law Firm today to discuss your options at 888-535-3686. Alternatively, you can contact us through our brief online form.
Mississippi 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:
- Aberdeen School District
- Alcorn School District
- Amite County School District
- Amory School District
- Attala County School District
- Baldwyn School District
- Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District
- Benoit School District
- Benton County School District
- Biloxi Public School District
- Booneville School District
- Brookhaven School District
- Calhoun County School District
- Canton Public School District
- Carroll County School District
- Chickasaw County School District
- Choctaw County School District
- Claiborne County School District
- Clarksdale Municipal School District
- Clay County School District
- Cleveland School District
- Clinton Public School District
- Coahoma County School District
- Coffeeville School District
- Columbia School District
- Columbus Municipal School District
- Copiah County School District
- Corinth School District
- Covington County School District
- DeSoto County School District
- Drew School District
- Durant Public School District
- East Jasper School District
- East Tallahatchie School District
- Enterprise School District
- Forest Municipal School District
- Forrest County School District
- Franklin County School District
- George County School District
- Greene County School District
- Greenville Public School District
- Greenwood Public School District
- Grenada School District
- Gulfport School District
- Hancock County School District
- Harrison County School District
- Hattiesburg Public School District
- Hazlehurst City School District
- Hinds County School District
- Hollandale School District
- Holly Springs School District
- Holmes County School District
- Houston School District
- Humphreys County School District
- Indianola School District
- Itawamba County School District
- Jackson County School District
- Jackson Public School District
- Jefferson County School District
- Jefferson Davis County School District
- Jones County School District
- Kemper County School District
- Kosciusko School District
- Lafayette County School District
- Lamar County School District
- Lauderdale County School District
- Laurel School District
- Lawrence County School District
- Leake County School District
- Lee County School District
- Leflore County School District
- Leland School District
- Lincoln County School District
- Long Beach School District
- Louisville Municipal School District
- Lowndes County School District
- Lumberton Public School District
- Madison County School District
- Marion County School District
- Marshall County School District
- McComb School District
- Meridian Public School District
- Monroe County School District
- Montgomery County School District
- Moss Point School District
- Mound Bayou Public School District
- Natchez-Adams School District
- Neshoba County School District
- Nettleton School District
- New Albany School District
- Newton County School District
- Newton Municipal School District
- North Bolivar School District
- North Panola School District
- North Pike School District
- North Tippah School District
- Noxubee County School District
- Ocean Springs School District
- Okolona Municipal Separate School District
- Oktibbeha County School District
- Oxford School District
- Pascagoula School District
- Pass Christian School District
- Pearl Public School District
- Pearl River County School District
- Perry County School District
- Petal School District
- Philadelphia Public School District
- Picayune School District
- Pontotoc City School District
- Pontotoc County School District
- Poplarville School District
- Prentiss County School District
- Quitman County School District
- Quitman School District
- Rankin County School District
- Richton School District
- Scott County School District
- Senatobia Municipal School District
- Shaw School District
- Simpson County School District
- Smith County School District
- South Delta School District
- South Panola School District
- South Pike School District
- South Tippah School District
- Starkville School District
- Stone County School District
- Sunflower County School District
- Tate County School District
- Tishomingo County School District
- Tunica County School District
- Tupelo Public School District
- Union County School District
- Union Public School District
- Vicksburg-Warren School District
- Walthall County School District
- Water Valley School District
- Wayne County School District
- Webster County School District
- West Bolivar School District
- West Jasper School District
- West Point School District
- West Tallahatchie School District
- Western Line School District
- Wilkinson County School District
- Winona Separate School District
- Yazoo City Municipal School District
- Yazoo County School District
It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your child's Mississippi 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 Mississippi and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National High School Title IX Attorney