Oklahoma Elementary Education Sexual Assault Attorney
It’s hard to fathom sexual assault in elementary education. Yet every day, students become victims of sexual assault and harassment from teachers, administrators, janitors, other staff, and fellow students. Sexual violence in elementary and middle schools not only interrupts a student’s ability to learn – it can cause lasting emotional damage. If your child suffered sexual touching, attempted rape, or completed acts of sexual assault in an Oklahoman school, come to Bryan & Terrill Law for help with litigation.
Who Is Liable in Child Sexual Assault Cases?
In almost all cases of sexual assault on elementary school property, the school itself will face liability for the victim’s damages. This would be the case if the school were negligent in some way that contributed to the incident, such as failing to properly screen teachers before hiring. Schools are vicariously liable for the actions of its teachers and staff members while at work. If a teacher committed the assault, the school would be liable. The school would most likely be responsible for student-on-student assault as well, if it reasonably should have foreseen and prevented the incident.
There are certain policies a school must obey, such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, to prevent sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault. A school might be liable for elementary student sexual assault if it failed to obey these rules. For example, if the school had no procedure in place for how teachers must handle reports or complaints of sexual assault from students, it may be responsible for subsequent harms. The school does not have to break a law, however, to face liability. Any breach of duty could make the school culpable.
A third party could also be the defendant in an elementary sexual assault case. The parents of the affected child could sue the assailant as well as the school. There may also be bystanders who watched the assault and did nothing to prevent it partially at fault. It is possible to sue more than one party in a civil lawsuit. A lawyer can help sexual assault victims assign fault, name defendant(s), and file the right type of claim in Oklahoma.
How to Sue a School for Sexual Assault
To sue a school in Oklahoma for elementary education sexual assault, you may have to abide by the laws of suing a government entity. This would be the case for a public school, but it might not be for a charter or private school. If the government runs the school, injured parties will deal with the Oklahoma Tort Claims Act. The Act gives sovereign immunity to government entities, meaning that a party cannot sue the government unless the agency agrees to the lawsuit. The state, however, has waived this immunity.
It is possible to sue a public school in Oklahoma for student sexual assault. The rules, however, differ from typical tort claims. You only have one year from the date of the incident to file a “Notice of Tort Claim” with the school. The deadline for other personal injury claims is two years. The school then has 90 days to file a response. If the school denies the claim or fails to file a response within 90 days, you have six months to pursue a civil claim. To get started with a claim against a school or other party for elementary education sexual assault, call our team at (918) 935-2777.