Trusted Partner for K-12 Misconduct Investigations.
Public and private K-12 schools and districts increasingly must address allegations of sexual misconduct not only between students, but between students and staff. Some of these cases are recent, but others, known as “historic” cases, may have taken place long ago.
Sexual misconduct investigations are far more challenging than investigations of other types of misconduct and require significant training and experience to do well. Sexual misconduct investigations involving K-12 students are especially challenging because of student social and emotional development, the time constraints of the academic calendar, and in historic cases, the loss of evidence. The strict requirements of Title IX (the law that governs and sexual misconduct investigations in public schools and independent schools that received PPP loans during the pandemic), mandatory reporting laws, and possible criminal prosecution make these investigations even more complex.
For these reasons, for investigations involving K-12 students, we highly recommend retaining a skilled attorney with deep experience investigating matters involving K-12 students, including those with IEPs or 504 accommodations.
DP Law is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of K-12 institutions when crises arise and require trauma-informed, thorough, fair and efficient investigations. We have completed more than 100 OCR-compliant investigations for colleges, universities and secondary schools, and our investigations have withstood the scrutiny of both the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Perkins is very familiar with both mandatory reporting and criminal law and procedure, and the impact these laws can have on school investigations. Most importantly, though, we work hard to make students and families as comfortable as possible in the midst of allegations that are devastating for all involved.
Specific areas of expertise include:
Please note: Occasionally we receive calls from individuals looking for representation on individual matters against schools. We do not represent individuals in litigation against educational institutions.
Schedule your consultation to discuss your school or district’s investigatory needs.
Under Title IX laws, all public K-12 schools and any independent K-12 schools that received PPL loans during the pandemic are required to investigate and address sexual assault and other sex crimes that occur on campus. Many institutions also choose to investigate and address off-campus sexual misconduct that is related to the school, and sexual misconduct that does not violate Title IX (e.g., sexual harassment that does not include unwanted touching). Even schools that are not technically obligated to comply with Title IX generally investigate and address sexual misconduct to foster a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. Title IX investigations must be conducted by individuals with training and expertise in investigating sexual misconduct. K-12 institutions should have a sexual misconduct policy that outlines the district’s rules and procedures, the rights of students and staff and the obligations the district has to investigate.
K-12 institutions may face claims of discrimination from a variety of sources. A job candidate could allege discriminatory hiring practices. A staff member could allege sexual harassment or discrimination by peers or supervisors . Students could allege harassment or other discriminatory treatment by peers, administration or staff.
When these allegations occur, K-12 institutions must be prepared to conduct thorough, trauma-informed investigations accordance with Title VII and Title IX and other anti-discrimination laws.