If You Were Assaulted by a Teacher or Staff

Will my school respond differently if I was sexually assaulted by a school employee?

Title IX also protects you from sexual harassment or assault by teachers, administrators, and school employees. If you have been sexually assaulted by a school employee, you can tell someone and, if you decide to, file a complaint with your school. However, this process will not necessarily be the same as the process in the student conduct code. You can contact your school’s Title IX coordinator to find out how to complain and learn about the process. Whether or not you officially file a complaint, once your school learns of the sexual assault or harassment, it must take immediate steps to stop the harassment or address the assault. If it does not, you can take action to hold your school accountable by filing a Title IX complaint with the Office of Civil Rights or filing a lawsuit against your school.

What will happen if I file a complaint against a school employee?

In most schools, if you file a campus complaint against an employee an investigator will ask to meet with you to get the details of your complaint. Although it may be difficult to talk about your experience, the investigator has to understand as much as possible about the assault in order to conduct an effective investigation. It is helpful if you can identify any witnesses or provide supporting documentation, such as emails, text messages, or direct messages on social media. You have the right to have a support person with you during this meeting. This person could be a close friend, a victim’s advocate, or, at some schools, an attorney. When your school opens an investigation, it must notify the accused employee of the complaint. Once an investigation is opened, the investigator acts as a neutral fact-finder. The investigator will also interview the accused employee and witnesses. Once the investigation is complete, the investigator will decide whether the individual violated university policy. If the investigator finds that the employee sexually assaulted you, the investigator will ask the employee’s department to take appropriate disciplinary action.

How will my school protect me while it investigates my complaint?

Your school may take what are called “interim measures” to keep you safe; for example, it may have to change your schedule, suspend an employee, help you relocate, or take other action that protects your safety while the investigation is pending.

What if I disagree with the results of the investigation?

Your school may have a process for appealing the results of the investigation; your Title IX coordinator or victim advocate can explain how that process, if any, works. You also have other legal options; read the rest of this section for more information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, file a lawsuit, your rights in the criminal justice system, and filing a sexual assault protection order.