Much has been written about the epidemic of student-on-student sexual abuse on college campuses in America. It’s a problem in Connecticut as well.
Did you know it also threatens thousands of children in elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S.?
The Associated Press (AP) just completed a lengthy investigation into the problem and their findings are disturbing.
They found approximately 17,000 official reports of sexual abuse over a four year period and believe that number is just the tip of the iceberg. They discovered that sexual abuse occurs anywhere students are left unsupervised including bathrooms, hallways, locker rooms and school buses – with victims and offenders as young as five or six.
Are there warning signs schools and parents can use to identify possible problems?
Numerous studies have shown that bullying is often a precursor to sexual abuse and assault. When a child has become a victim to abuse, grades often drop, depression develops, absenteeism rises as does anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Sadly – too many schools see these signs of a problem and ignore them in the belief kids are just being kids. Other schools have been known to cover up cases of abuse.
The U.S. Department of Education actually requires that all public school districts act on bullying and sexual violence. Public schools are technically required to internally investigate and take prompt action whenever such acts are discovered.
Interestingly, some of the nation’s largest school districts investigated by AP reported zero sexual assaults over a multi-year period. State education officials in those regions told the AP they strongly doubt their districts’ numbers.
Sadly, even if a school acts on a case of abuse, they’ve been known to mishandle those cases, leaving victims with little recourse. And local prosecutors are sometimes hesitant to prosecute kids. Suing school districts is also difficult.
Despite the obstacles, sometimes the only measure of justice comes through the courts.
If your child has endured the horrors of abuse in their school, consider meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you determine whether you can sue your school district, what the liability standard is, how high a hurdle it is, whether you can sue school officials and if so, for what types of decisions.
If a loved one of yours has ever been sexually abused while at a school in Connecticut, the attorneys at RisCassi & Davis can help.
Our attorneys have successfully handled a number of sexual abuse cases involving children during our more than 60 years serving the people of Connecticut.
If we can help you, please contact us. All consultations are free, and there is no obligation of any kind.