Sexual assault in k-12 schools and college is a major issue in Maryland and across the nation. Studies show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted during college. Less is known about rates of sexual violence in k-12 schools, but the numbers that are available paint an equally disturbing picture, and we know that k-12 students experience high rates of sexual violence. In addition to the criminal and civil legal systems, k-12 and college victims of sexual assault also have access to an administrative system within their school. Through their schools, they can gain access to on-campus counseling, academic accommodations, and other resources that are not available in the criminal and civil legal system.
A: There are three federal laws and one state law governing college sexual assault prevention and response in the state of Maryland. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are all pieces of federal legislation imposing certain requirements related to sexual assault on institutions of higher education. Title IX and FERPA both apply to k-12 schools as well. Maryland Education Code 11-601 is a state law that creates additional requirements for colleges and universities here in Maryland. Among these requirements is the creation of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with local law enforcement and the local rape crisis center. MCASA can provide templates and roadmaps for these documents, and is available to assist in their creation.
Also, MCASA established the College Consortium to address sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking. The Consortium is a statewide network of college staff and other professionals that works collectively to prevent violence and respond to the needs of victim-survivors on Maryland campuses.
A: Schools are required to take prompt and effective steps to end sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, eliminate the hostile environment created by the sexual violence, and, as appropriate, remedy the effects of the sexual violence. Schools are also required to take steps to protect students while an investigation into a complaint of sexual a violence is ongoing. These “interim protective measures” will vary depending on a given student’s situation, but can include, among others, changing class schedules, moving a student to a different dorm, providing the student with counseling services, and giving assistance with academic accommodations. To learn more about school obligations under Title IX, click here.
Note that the Department of Education recently released new Title IX regulations that will affect how schools must respond to and protect student survivors. Although the new regulations are still facing legal challenges in federal courts, the new regulations officially went into effect on August 14, 2020. Click here for a copy of the new regulations.
A: No! Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in an educational environment for any school receiving federal funding (which is most schools). While that does include ensuring equal access to athletic opportunities, it means a lot more than just that.
A: No. The school adjudication system is completely separate from the criminal legal process. Reporting to one is not the same as reporting to the other. Students always have the right to report to their school AND to the police, should they so choose. A licensed attorney can help students understand and navigate their legal options.
A: No. Schools are required to take certain steps and have specific policies and procedures in place before an assault occurs as a part of the effort to create a safe school environment for all. You can learn more about sexual assault prevention in schools here .
MCASA is available to provide technical assistance and training on this and other subjects; click here for a complete list of MCASA’s available trainings, along with the option to request a training tailored specifically to your needs. Click here for additional resources outlining how administrators, faculty and staff, students, and community members can help address sexual assault in schools.