If sexual harassment happens at school, what liability and responsibility does the school have?

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Question: What responsibilities does the school have in terms of investigating and reporting student sexual harassment?

Response: The school must notify the victim (and his or her parents depending on the age of the victim) of the outcome of its investigation and of any punishments imposed that directly relate to the victim, such as an order for the harasser to stay away from the victim. If the school determines that a student was sexually harassed, the school must take reasonable, prompt, age appropriate, and effective action to end the harassment and prevent it from happening again to the victim or to others. If the school fails to do so, it must remedy the effects of the harassment on the victim that could have been avoided if the school had responded promptly and effectively.

In addition, if the harasser is a school employee and if the harassment occurs while the employee is acting, or reasonably appears to be acting, in the context of carrying out his or her responsibilities to provide aid, benefits, and services, the school must remedy the effects of the harassment on the victim. Moving forward, please consult with a sexual harassment lawyer to determine the best course of action to take in your case.

Answered by Jason Tong

Additional Resources:
U.S. Department of Education-Student Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment Lawyer

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