My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
Sexual harassment is not just confined to the workplace. It can also occur in school. If your son or daughter has been the victim of sexual harassment, you have options available to protect your child. Here is what you need to know.
Is It Sexual Harassment?
Some victims of sexual harassment do not speak up because they are unsure whether or not what happened to them is actually harassment. Unfortunately, authorities, including your child's school, might also question whether or not he or she really experienced harassment.
Sexual harassment is basically any unwanted or unwelcome behavior that is of a sexual nature that interferes with your child's ability to receive an education. It can be spoken, physical, or written. It creates a hostile environment for your child.
What Can You Do?
The first step in dealing with sexual harassment is contacting the school. School districts are legally obligated under Title IX to take action. Your child's school has the responsibility of investigating the incident, providing education to students about sexual harassment, and eliminating the situation.
It is important that you document all interactions with your child's school. In the event the school fails to take action, the documentation can be used to build a legal case, if necessary.
If the principal fails to take the appropriate actions, contact the school district's superintendent. Provide the superintendent with a written history of everything that has occurred. You also need to provide a letter that states that what has happened is directly interfering with your child's right to an equal educational opportunity.
At this point, if you do not have legal representation, consult with an attorney. Your next step involves going to the school board and it is very possible that you will also have to face the district's attorneys to discuss the issue.
What If Nothing Happens?
If the school board fails to take appropriate action, you have the right to file a formal complaint with the state's Board of Education. The agency will investigate your child's claims and review the actions of the school, superintendent, and the school board to that point.
Ideally, the agency will take action and your child will be protected from further harassment. If not, you can opt to continue the complaint process by contacting the U.S. Department of Education.
You also have the right to sue. In fact, it might be possible to file a lawsuit after the inaction of the school board.
Consult with a sexual harassment attorney to determine which steps would work best in your particular case and to ensure that you are properly documenting the case.