Target: John B. King, Jr., Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
Goal: Stop schools from punishing sexual assault victims after they report a crime.
The Department of Education has seen a spike in the number of civil rights complaints against K-12 schools for allegedly mishandling reports of sexual violence. It has become a national debate that has raised awareness on both college campuses and the rising problem among younger students and their families. However, when K-12 students report sexual assault at school, they are likely to be penalized severely for it. Not all schools believe the alleged victim’s story. Instead, they choose to evaluate whether or not the sex was consensual, and then they usually end up believing the alleged attacker’s story that the victim was either asking for it or not mentioning the victim’s demands to stop.
There’s a 2010 case in which a 17-year-old Texas student reported that she was sexually assaulted in the school’s band room. School officials relied on the police’s investigation, which determined that the sex was consensual, and expelled both the victim and attacker, sending them to the same alternate school. When the victim sued, it was found nearly two years later that the school had violated the student’s rights by sending her to the same school as the boy she had named her attacker. Please sign the petition below to end this cycle of punishing or not believing victims when they report sexual assault.
Dear Secretary King,
This past year has seen a spike in sexual assault complaints in schools throughout the country. The rising national debate on rape in college campuses has brought attention to K-12 complaints as well. I ask that you force all schools to adopt amnesty provisions so that those who report sexual assault crimes can not be punished afterward. There are many cases in which the alleged victim is unfairly suspended or expelled for reporting the assault.
One case is that of a 15-year-girl in Michigan who reported that she was sexually assaulted but was expelled when the school decided to believe the alleged attacker’s story. They based their decision off of rumors they heard being spread around the campus that the victim was sleeping around with a senior. Because she was 15, she was not able to legally consent to sex, but the boy wasn’t charged and the girl was expelled.
A complaint was filed and the case is still open, but it’s still a perfect example of something that should not be allowed to happen. A complaint should not have been filed. It’s as though schools are telling assault victims, “Don’t report it. You’ll only get expelled.” I urge you to take this matter seriously by enforcing amnesty provisions for these alleged victims.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: GroundReport.Com