The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a unanimous decision in favor of a young woman who is suing her school district for allowing her to be sexually assaulted on school grounds.
The woman, who has asked to be called Jaden, was a 14-year-old special education student when she reported that a fellow student had been harassing and propositioning her to engage in sexual activity in the school restroom. Instead of believing her and addressing the issue head-on, her teacher and student aide tried to work within the school’s disciplinary policy, which required physical evidence, admission of guilt, or for the perpetrator to be caught in the act. They devised a plan to use Jaden as “bait” to catch her harasser, but the plan failed. The harasser brought Jaden to another bathroom, and Jaden was raped before her teachers could intervene.
Legal Voice, along with 32 other organizations dedicated to gender equality, joined an amicus brief submitted by our sister organization, Women’s Law Project, supporting Jaden and condemning the school for disbelieving survivors as a matter of policy.
“This decision is an important victory for students whose safety and educational opportunities are at risk when schools develop and implement biased policies like the one in this case,” said Amal Bass, Women’s Law Project Staff Attorney.