After reporting a sexual assault, Black girls in the nation’s largest public school system face multiple challenges, including dealing with the city’s education bureaucracy.
Complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights says NYC Schools have a pattern of mismanaging sexual assault cases involving disadvantaged Black girls, reports the Huffington Post.
Attorney Carrie Goldberg filed three complaints in the past seven months, the most recent one on June 4. She’s also calling on the Department of Justice to probe what she believes is systemic racial and gender bias in New York City’s public school system.
According to the Huffington Post, which obtained a copy of the complaints and evidence, one case involved a 15-year-old girl who was allegedly forced to perform oral sex on two boys in a stairwell. She reported the incident to a guidance counselor, but ended up getting suspended for consensual sex in school.
In another case, a male student allegedly punched an eighth-grader in her genitals and humped her in the hallway. Although school suspended him for a month, the girl still had to take several classes with her accused attacker after he returned from suspension.
Her family and their lawyer tried to get her transferred to another school that specialized in the performing arts. But school officials ignored their request for an audition waiver, which Goldberg said is a violation of her Title IX rights for accommodations. Ultimately—after more than a month—she was admitted to another school.
BuzzFeed was the first to report the third case, involving an eighth-grader who was allegedly sodomized by a classmate. After the attack, she suffered the additional indignity of having a secretly recorded video of the rape circulate on social media.
In BuzzFeed’s report, school administrators failed to take appropriate action. The article said the girl’s mother was misled to believe a school transfer was being processed. That wasn’t true. Instead, with the assistance of Goldberg, she managed to get the transfer, which took nearly a month.
The attorney told the Huffington Post that there’s systemic race, class, and gender discrimination in the city’s school system.
Goldberg added: “Teenage Black girls are sexualized in society in a way that White girls are not. In these cases, there was no doubt the sex happened, no belief the girls were making up the whole stories, there was ample proof this happened. What was being disbelieved was whether or not it’s consensual.”
School district officials told the Huffington Post its attorneys are “reviewing these deeply troubling complaints.”
Goldberg told the Post that the school system operates as though it doesn’t understand the fundamental Title IX rights of sexual assault victims. Under Title IX protocols, survivors have a number of rights, including counseling and protection from retaliation.