Sacramento City Unified School District settled a high-profile sexual assault lawsuit, agreeing to district-wide policy improvements and to pay $400,000 to former student Virginia,* after school official forced Virginia to leave school for the rest of the semester upon discovering she was raped by two schoolmates at an off-campus party in 2016.
The lawsuit, filed March 2018 by Equal Rights Advocates and Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP, names SCUSD, and individual McClatchy High School officials. The suit alleges that when school officials found out about the rape, they effectively suspended Virginia, escorting her off campus and directing her not to return for the rest of the school year. Meanwhile, the two students who raped her remained in school.
According to the lawsuit, school officials broke several federal and state laws in Virginia’s case, including Title IX, by denying her equal access to education; failing to inform her of her rights; discouraging her from taking legal action; failing to provide any psychological resources or counseling; failing to provide options for avoiding her assailants at school (other than kicking her out); not conducting an adequate Title IX investigation; and failing to take effective action to stop the bullying, threats, and harassment she experienced when she returned to school or provide any accommodations for the resulting trauma symptoms that interfered with her education.
To help ensure this does not happen to other students, SCUSD has agreed to work with Equal Rights Advocates to draft, implement, and monitor progress of new policies for responding to reports of sexual assault and harassment. These changes will impact49,000 students who currently attend schools in the district.
* Last name not provided to protect the student’s identity.