Stop Cover Up of Sexual Abuse! Stop Proposed Title IX!

Schools cover up sexual abuse resulting in depression, trauma, suicide, and ‘normalized’ child abuse!

NOTE: When students report incidents of wrongdoing, they are asking for help and guidance to stop the misconduct. Despite clear written guidelines and policies coupled with state and federal laws, school administrators opt to employ their own unlawful, discretionary “hush” tactics to protect the offender.  This marks the beginning of agonizing encounters where the school administrations do everything in their authority to silence the victims and fend off respective parents. Their motivation is to shield offenders in an effort to leave their school’s reputation clean and financial funding intact.

Nationwide Cases

Larry Nassar – Michigan State / USA Gymnastics

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/24/sports/larry-nassar-victims.html

Jerry Sandusky  – Penn State University

https://www.cnn.com/2013/10/28/us/penn-state-scandal-fast-facts/index.html

Mr. Fenner – Kent Boarding School   

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/nyregion/suit-alleges-past-sexual-abuse-at-connecticut-boarding-school.html

Mark Wright – Horace Mann High School   

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/10/confronting-teacher-horace-mann-abuse.html

Fredrick Lyman – Choate Rosemary Hall

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/nyregion/ousted-over-sexual-misconduct-claims-and-on-to-the-next-teaching-job.html

2-Texas Principals Arrested Failing to Report Sexual Assault    
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/08/2-texas-principals-arrested-for-failing-to-report-sexual-abuse-allegations.html

Dominic Caserta’s Sexual Harassment 

https://www.sanjoseinside.com/2018/05/18/santa-clara-unified-breaks-silence-on-dominic-casertas-sexual-harassment-scandal/

Palo Alto High School District Sexual Assault and More

https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2017/08/25/office-for-civil-rights-to-investigate-paly-sex-assault-cases

https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2018/03/14/title-ix-coordinator-requests-support-for-investigations-compliance?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles

Bullying Ignored Results in Tragic Suicide

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44552864?SThisFB

Silencing The Victim And Protecting Offenders 

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8396987-181/petaluma-high-school-valedictorian-appalledVictim in New Hampshire Prep School ‘Senior Salute’ Case Speaks Out

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/chessy-prout-sexual-assault-victim-of-owen-labrie-at-new-hampshire-school-speaks-out.html

 Principal Failure Led to protect Bullying Led to a Suicide

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/nyregion/at-school-where-student-died-bullying-led-to-a-suicide-attempt.html

 

San Diego County Cases

Raymond Firth at Pacific Rim Elementary School, Carlsbad

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/dont-wait-for-the-district-to-do-the-right-thing/

Martin Teachworth at La Jolla High School 

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/2013-emails-reveal-complaints-la-jolla-high-teacher/

Donn Boyd at San Dieguito High Academy*

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/teacher-accused-touching-students-allowed-back-class-another-student-complained/

46-Year-Old Music Teacher. 17-Years-Old Student. La Costa Canyon*

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/she-was-17-he-was-her-46-year-old-teacher-despite-warning-signs-he-stayed-in-the-classroom-for-years/

Special Education Teacher Sexual Harassment La Mesa Spring Valley School

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/sexual-misconduct-records-reveal-investigations-reprimands-occasional-resignations-local-schools/

Special Education Students Sexual Assault. Lincoln High School

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/tormented-students-sexual-assault-teacher-falls/

There are hundreds of thousands of incidents that can fill millions of pages with cases of sexual misconduct and harassment. Furthermore, they clearly display the ‘cover up’ that school personnel and administrators enact.  There are many more that are not reported due to fear of retaliation and retribution.

Category

  • Student Well Being
  • High School
  • Parenting
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Title IX
  • Title V
  • Title I

Background

On November 2011, as I watched the trial of Jerry Sandusky in disbelief, I was outraged. Physical and sexual abuse against vulnerable boys had occurred and school officials and coaches had deliberately covered it up.  On January 2016, my own daughter reported a sexual harassment incident that occurred at an elite private school in San Diego. Again I was appalled…school officials used bullying tactics to silence the girls who had already been victimized.  On December 2017, I followed the Larry Nassar trial intensely, where for over twenty years school officials failed to protect the young gymnasts and covered up the repeated sexual abuse. I was shocked, revolted, and determined to do something about it. I could not be a bystander any longer, I decided to devote time to understand how the entire system fails to protect our most vulnerable of our nation. Although, I had some understanding, I was curious to know more about how the public-school education system truly works.  I began attending district board meetings where I met a group of community members who shared my passion to protect students from sexual assault and abuse of power.

Together, we joined forces, and researched sexual assault cases that occurred locally and nationally. We’ve discovered that there are many laws protecting children and students from sexual assault, but schools use perverted and deceptive practices to cover up these incidents, which is reminiscent of priest scandals in the Catholic Church.

“The failure of U.S. schools to protect students from sexual abuse by school personnel is a story of school administrators and district cover-ups, lack of training, incomplete teacher background checks and little guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.”5

https://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660375.pdf

We have compiled a white paper that clearly shows that these unlawful practices have long-lasting trauma on children into adulthood. Often it is not just the incident that traumatizes our children, youth, and young adults. It is rather the cover up practices employed by school administrators which results in detrimental outcomes.

“Children and adolescents who engage in sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse leave their victims with deep and lasting scars. Today’s murky consent culture prevails in adulthood because these behaviors aren’t being addressed in childhood — a pivotal time when kids are learning social norms and developing their sense of identity.”8

Sexual abuse impacts 3 out of 10 students during their K-12 education. We must shift the culture of school officials for the well-being of our children and restore trust in our justice system and society.

Betsy DeVos Proposed Title IX Must Be Stopped!

On November 16th, 2018 the Department of Education issued a press release that the proposed Title IX rule “provides clarity for schools, support for survivors, and due process rights to all.” 1

I agree that this proposed Title IX offers some support for survivors and due process to the accuser.   However, I strongly disagree that the policy is going to provide clear guidelines that are “fair,” “objective,” and “unbiased.” The policy would grant schools much flexibility with no liability to cover up sexual harassment and assault scandals.

These perverted practices and culture must be stopped. The language must be revised to hold school officials accountable to fulfill their fiduciary duty to protect students not schools.

How can a “designated school employee” be

an “objective,” “fair,” and “unbiased investigator?”

The proposed “regulation leaves flexibility for a school to pursue informal resolution to be investigated through the school own employee.”3

Clearly, this language grants schools a discretionary and discriminatory “grievance process” with an obvious conflict of interest.  They act as a judge, jury, and the executioner.

School officials’ highest priority is to protect their reputation, ensure an influx of donations, and shield themselves from financial liability.

When schools are confronted with who to protect in a sexual assault scandal: The student victim or their institution? The response is obvious, and the results are evident: “The failure of US schools to protect students from sexual assault is a story of administrators and districts cover ups…”4   

 “No damages will be assessed against a school.”

So how will school be deterred to stop cover up practices?

The proposed regulation states that the Department of Education “will not assess damages against a school as a remedy for a violation of these regulations, they will focus on enforcement efforts to bring schools into compliance of Title IX.”

“Leaving flexibility” and “not assessing any damages” is a detrimental outcome for our students, which totally at the mercy of schools who have no serious or substantial consequences. We are horrified of the continuous abuse of power against our children.

“It’s atrocious that these people that are allowing this to happen have no consequences,”7  

Heiskala said, referring to school administrators. Her eight years old daughter was molested by her third-grade teacher, Mr. Reymond Firth.

If schools assume no liability of violating Title IX regulation, then how would they be deterred to stop these perverted hush practices?

Often it is not the incident that traumatizes our children, youth, and young adults. It is rather the cover up practices employed by school administrators which results in betrayal of trust and justice results in deteriorating in an emotional well-being of our children.

Examples of Cover Up Practices 

Schools exploit the vulnerability and ignorance of the victims to cover up scandals with deceptive tactics.  Some of these tactics include:

  • Discrediting victims’ testimony with “you are exaggerating…”,
  • Dismissing the issue as “no big deal…”
  • Deflecting the issue with distorted information,
  • Isolating the victim “it’s only happened to you…”
  • Delaying responses and dragging out resolution,
  • Denying it occurred “you may misinterpret the gesture….” and,
  • Disclosing the identity of the victim even though the incident was filed in confidence.

All these perverted tactics has one main goal to drain the resources and energy of the victims and their families, so they drop the case.

Despite extensive state and federal laws, school officials fail to enforce them, violating victims’ legal rights and denying victims proper due process.   School officials are well-aware that these deplorable tactics derail the well-being of the victim.   Our students held as hostages in the school system’ with no re-course.

Schools granted to designate their “own reasonable timeframe.” 

 Clearly granting schools “flexibility” to designate their “own reasonable timeframe” harms students and their families.   School officials are well-aware if they prolong the resolution of the incident, the case might be dropped eventually. We call it a “war of attrition.”  As the issue lingers, it induces uncertainty and anxiety, which morphs into depression and isolation.  Parents observe their child’s pain and agony and often believe if they drop the case, it will end their suffering, often that is more a perception than the reality. Therefore, granting schools their “own reasonable timeframe,” helps them drain and further traumatize the victims and their families. Resolution needs to be quick and just for victims to restore trust and confidence in the institution.

Cover Up Practices are harmful to victims and offenders

Clearly, these cover up practices have normalized child abuse with clear deterioration in the emotional well-being of our youth and young adults.

In addition, it is also harmful for offenders, who rarely face any substantial consequences initially. School officials deliberately do not administer any harsh consequences to offenders because it would be an admission that sexual misconduct indeed occurred. And therefore, it would expose them to potential liability.

When school officials shield offenders in order to protect the school, they harm them as well. Unfortunately, the offenders do not get the opportunity to receive proper treatment to repair the reprehensible behavior.  Instead, they live in shame, isolation, and silence. Worse yet, they are emboldened to perpetuate wrongdoing, which establishes an irrefutable pattern that they may end their life in prison.

School officials cover up practices have normalized child abuse  

School officials have normalized child abuse by infusing fear and silencing victims. A lack of trust deters others to report incidents because they claim, “why bother, they do nothing anyway.” It is effectively silencing not only the victims but the community as a whole—this is an institutional betrayal exploiting deliberately children vulnerability.   These unlawful cover up practices has induced an abusive culture with perverted morals and values into our relationships at home, work place, and communities.

We must shift from abusive to healthy culture by role modeling proper ethics, morals, and follow the law.   

One of the ways to reduce substantially sexual assault is to hold school officials accountable and deter them from employing cover up practices.  Deterrence will occur when schools officials incur substantial liability to impact their personal, professional, and financial well-being.

Schools, under no circumstances, should be granted the flexibility to institute an informal resolution. There is a major conflict of interest in designating a school employee to investigate a sexual abuse incident. Despite extensive state and federal laws to protect students’ safety and well-being, school officials deliberately do very little to enforce them.  Therefore, I propose several solutions that will reduce sexual abuse, save money to schools, and improve the well-being of our society as a whole.   

Proposed Solutions

Note that some solutions need to be segmented between K-12 and for higher education due to differences in age, legality of guardians, and severity of incidents. 

Mandatory Training for Students and Guardians

Similar to workforce training, for the process to be fair and objective, all students must be aware of the process and their legal rights upon the beginning of the academic year. A student Handbook must be used as training guidelines and be mandated. The training must be interactive face-to-face following with a Q & A session to ensure that everyone understands the process, their rights, and consequences. Students should be permitted to take academic classes ONLY upon completion of the mandated training session.

Mandatory Training for School Personnel

State and Federal governments must institute a mandatory continued education and training program for all school personnel. There should be a monitoring and tracking system of school personnel who fulfill the requirements. Those who fail to attend the training should not be allowed on campus until their training is complete. It is comparable to a license to practice medicine, law, or other occupations.

Centralized Real Time System

The informal resolution process should be clearly formalized, centralized, and communicated to all stakeholders in the school in real time. All complaints should be reported into a centralized system similar to Let’s Speak Up. The system should collect, inform, track, and generate an actionable plan based on the incident and parameters entered. Responses should be immediate, all with respects to the severity of the issue, location, and activity. The names of the complainants should never be exposed if the incident was filed confidentially. The system should send alerts and notifications to keep everyone informed and request additional information or add an actionable task until the matter is resolved.

A “Reasonable Timeframe” is 1-2 weeks

An investigation of the incident and its report should be completed within a day to 1-week maximum. This time frame depends on the complexities of the incident and the various variables involved. The outcome of the investigation should be delivered upon the completion of the designated plan to resolve the issue.  These reports should be uploaded into the centralized system where all parties involved have access.

 Those who are “Deliberately Indifferent” Must Held Personally Liable   

School officials and personnel who “deliberately indifferent” and use cover up tactics must be held personally liable.  Professionally, their license to practice in any institution should be revoked, nullifying confidential agreements.  Financially, they should pay for their own legal representation, withdrawing severance packages, pension plans and/or bonuses.

In summary

 It’s time to change the culture within school administrations by clamping on state and federal laws. We must have laws enforced and effective policies to shift the culture of school officials. They must shift from covering up to speaking up to bring justice with morality & hold everyone accountable.

If school officials just fulfill their fiduciary duty to create a safe environment for our students and enforce the laws and policies, everyone will benefit.

Students will feel safe at school and their well-being will improve. Furthermore, they will trust a justice system and understand how to solve issues with high morals and ethics.

And finally, billions of dollars will be saved and redirected into programs that focus on progress and advancement of our school communities and society.

 

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