Like Churches, Maryland Schools Found to Harbor Sexual Abusers
A recent investigation shed light on the tendency of schools to quietly allow teachers accused of sexual abuse to transfer to other schools. Unsurprisingly, those teachers accused of sexual misconduct often repeat the same bad behavior at their new schools. This practice is repeated in schools across the United States, risking harm to millions of children, according to experts and federal officials.
On average, one offender passes through three different school districts before being stopped. In the process, they can abuse as many as 73 children, according to a 2010 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
“This is a phenomenon of child abuse that we allow to happen under our noses,” said Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the federal Department of Education. “It’s something that we’ve known conclusively for decades, but we have insufficient collective will as a country to stop it.”
Failing to report reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse is a crime, yet federal officials and experts believe school administrators often do not contact authorities for fear of damaging the reputation of a teacher or the school.
If you or a loved one was sexually abused in school by a faculty or staff member, The Yost Legal Group is here to help (1-800-YOST-LAW). If you are ready to talk, our compassionate sexual abuse survivor attorneys are ready to help.
Sexual Abuse at Schools
Generally, a teacher or staffer is directly responsible for sexual violence directed toward a student. The violence could be physical (any form of non-consensual or unwanted touching) or non-physical (making sexual comments in front of children or showing children sexually explicit material).
Other times, schools tolerate peer-on-peer sexual bullying and harassment. Frequently, the school mildly disciplines the responsible students, but does nothing to ensure the other student’s safety moving forward.
Regardless of the abuser’s identity, such behavior has long-lasting and usually permanent ill effects on survivors. Some effects our compassionate sexual abuse survivor attorneys see most frequently include:
- Relationship Issues: Sexual abuse survivors usually have trust issues and have a hard time forging connections with other people. These issues affect their professional lives as well as their personal lives.
- Depression: Shutting down is a natural reaction to sexual abuse. These shutdowns often begin downward spirals. Kids don’t feel like going to school, especially if they must be around their abusers. The isolation worsens their depression, and the downward spiral continues.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is especially common among physical abuse survivors and among students who witnessed such conduct. Such extreme stress alters brain chemistry. This chemical imbalance causes symptoms like anxiety, hypervigilance, anger, and nightmares.
No one can change the past and prevent these incidents from happening. However, a Baltimore sexual abuse lawyer can do the next best thing, which is to obtain compensation that helps these victims move on with their lives.
Ignorance Is Not an Excuse for Negligence
By law, schools in the Maryland education system have a responsibility to keep students safe from faculty and staff and from other students as well. When a student is abused or sexually abused on school property or by school employees, schools and school districts could be financially responsible for such acts.
Screening potential employees is not as easy as it used to be since most people change jobs frequently. But difficulty is not an excuse for negligence. Schools still have a duty to properly screen workers, and they should not make excuses for their failure to do so.
And once the school has hired an individual, it then becomes the school’s responsibility to properly monitor its employees. Failure to properly investigate a misconduct charge or failure to respond to such charges based on the facts and nothing else are clear forms of negligence that will land a school and school district in scalding hot water.
You Are Not Alone | It Was Not Your Fault
If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse in a Maryland school or by a Maryland school system employee, call The Yost Legal Group today (1-800-YOST-LAW). Our firm offers compassionate attorneys who are here to help. All consultations are free and confidential. Call today: 1-800-967-8529.