It appears that Eastern High School in Lansing, Michigan, may have a serious problem with sexual assault. What’s more, the school is under fire for the way it treats victims of the crime, particularly female sexual assault victims of color. In one of the incidents, a 14-year-old male Eastern High School student was caught on school security cameras sexually assaulting a female 14-year-old classmate.
When she reported the abuse, an instance of the boy exposing his genitals and forcing her hand onto his naked penis, the 14-year-old sexual assault victim was suspended for 10 days. What had she done wrong? Buzzfeed reports that the Eastern High School sexual assault victim was suspended for “lewd behavior.”
The attack, which took place on October 13, 2015, reportedly took place in a school stairwell. It was ultimately reported to the local police, and the assailant in question was charged with one count of misdemeanor indecent exposure as a result of the sexual assault caught on tape. He pleaded guilty to the charges against him in March.
Before Eastern High School officials bothered to forward the girls’ complaint to law enforcement to be dealt with properly, they concluded that she was guilty of behaving lewdly. They even had the audacity to add that she had engaged in sexual contact, punishable by suspension, “regardless of consent.”
In a nutshell, the Eastern High School policy allowed school officials to suspend the sexual assault victim, who happens to be Native American, because she was the victim of sexual assault while in school.
Since the unthinkable sexual assault and her subsequent unconscionable treatment by Eastern High School administrators, the 14-year-old Native American victim has withdrawn from the school. She has also retained attorney Karen Truszkowski.
“What they did to that young lady is just appalling.”
According to the attorney, this instance was the second case of sexual assault at Eastern High School in under a year that resulted in the victim being treated so poorly by the school that she left. Karen Truszkowski is now providing legal counsel to both victims, both of whom are girls of color.
A federal lawsuit has been filed against Eastern High School and the Lansing School District as a result of the unbelievable treatment the young sexual assault victims reportedly endured at the hands of those in positions of authority at the school. The lawsuit details the potentially illegal way the girls’ sexual assault cases were handled by the school after the sexual assaults were brought to the attention of school officials.
The lawsuit against the school indicates that the girls were, in effect, forced out of Eastern High due to a concerted process of victim shaming at the school. They claim that adults at the school refused to protect them from bullying triggered by the fact that they reported the crimes against them, that their grades dropped as a result and that Eastern High administrators even barred the sexual assault victims from school activities.
Neither Eastern High School, nor the district is commenting on the pending federal lawsuit, a lawsuit that claims that the school committed Title IX violations. The district has, however, issued a canned statement which can be read here.
The news that Eastern High School is facing a federal lawsuit stemming from its handling of reported sexual assaults comes at the same time that the Obama Administration is issuing new guidelines to American public schools (K-12), advising them how best to handle sexual assault reports. The key points of those new guidelines, reports Buzzfeed, include victim sensitivity. In issuing the guidelines, the White House addressed that, unfortunately, girls of color are disproportionately victimized by school administrators when they report sexual assaults. For girls of color, facing a suspension from school is not uncommon when reporting a sexual assault.
“My experience is that schools often respond to harassment in ways that further traumatize the victims. So training and education in trauma sensitivity would greatly improve the educational environment for students.”
What do you think? Is it ever appropriate to suspend or punish a victim of sexual assault for reporting the crime? Do the attitudes of schools and school administrators regarding sexual assault victims contribute to the prolific rape culture reported on American school campuses? Do you believe that the reported Eastern High School sexual assault victims have a legitimate Title IX lawsuit?
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3533503/eastern-high-school-sexual-assault-two-female-students-of-color-punished-for-reporting-sexual-assaults/