A high school girl in Georgia was suspended following reports of sexual assault, showcasing a striking trend across the country.
According to the Lilly, a 16-year old female student at Fayette County High School was suspended two years ago after reporting to administrators that a fellow student allegedly forced her to perform oral sex in a school hallway.
The school’s code of conduct states that “sexual impropriety” and “[acts] of sexual conduct” may lead to suspension or expulsion.
This is not a new phenomenon, as schools across the country have been “punishing” female students for violating school rules when they come forward about their assault.
Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, director of educational equity at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), represented the alleged victim. She stated, “You see [this kind of response] largely in areas where there are high populations of people of color mostly because those schools tend to rely on harsh disciplinary practices and zero tolerance approaches.”
The NWLC is now filing against the Georgia high school for violating Title IX, claiming the school has not fostered an environment free from gender-based discrimination.
Under Title IX, schools have a responsibility to investigate all allegations of sexual assault, but no action was taken prior to the student’s expulsion. She has not yet returned to school.