Parents sue charter school over handling of a reported assault

Friday, September 28, 2018

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Parents of a former Boise charter school student are suing the school, claiming administrators created a hostile environment by failing to adequately respond after their daughter reported she had been sexually assaulted by another student.

The Idaho Press reports the lawsuit was filed earlier this week in federal court against Sage International, a public charter school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

In the lawsuit, the parents say the school violated a federal law called Title IX that prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of sex.

The parents say the school refused to fully enforce a protection order a judge had issued and told their daughter she would have to transfer to avoid sharing classes with her alleged attacker.

Sage International School officials say the school denies any wrongdoing but can’t comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, the case arose after a male student allegedly forcibly held down and groped a female student at his home on Jan. 2.

The lawsuit says that in March, the girl sought help from a school counselor who encouraged her to report the incident, which she did. The parents say school administrators reviewed text messages between the girl and her alleged assailant and confirmed the male student made several physical advances toward her despite her repeatedly telling him “no.”

Prosecutors eventually charged the male student with battery, according to court documents, and the judge in that case issued a protection order preventing him from coming within 20 feet of the female student.

The parents claim in the lawsuit that school administrators told their daughter she would have to transfer to avoid sharing classes with the male student and that the school’s sexual harassment policies didn’t need to be enforced because the incident happened off-campus.

The parents say the male student violated the protection order by approaching the female student at her locker and following her as she went to class. The school eventually agreed to create a “passing protocol” to prevent further violations, according to court documents, but the female student’s family didn’t get confirmation that the protocol was in place until March 26, and it was lifted when the protection order expired two days later.

The parents say their daughter ultimately withdrew from Sage International School to avoid attending classes with the male student.

The newspaper did not name the family filing the lawsuit.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they are victims of sex assaults.