Stop Sexual Assault in Schools statement in support of April 24 rally, U.S. District Court, Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA

Link to statement:

SEATTLE, April 22, 2024 —The national nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS) stands in solidarity with the individuals and organizations attending the sexual assault survivors rally Wednesday, April 24 at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.

The trial against Fairfax County Public Schools currently being held there exemplifies the alarming barriers that survivors continue to face in K-12 schools nationally when they hold schools accountable for Title IX compliance. Instead of prompt investigations, support, and effective resolutions, too many schools respond with denial, indifference, or worse, disparage those students and families who are brave enough to assert their right to learn in a safe environment.

SSAIS was founded in 2015 precisely to address how K-12 school districts mishandle sexual harassment complaints, to the lasting detriment of student and family survivors. Almost ten years later, we still cannot celebrate significant progress in this area. As the Title IX lawsuit against Fairfax County Public Schools illustrates, ignorance and fear of liability and reputational damage continue to motivate schools to downplay, ignore, or deny altogether reports of sexual harassment, and resort to relentless and unabashed victim-blaming.

Reporting incidents of sexual harassment and assault to an adult at school should not be an onerous undertaking. Survivors and their families should not face revictimization and demoralizing hurdles to hold schools accountable for failing to uphold students’ civil rights.

SSAIS joins those attending the rally in supporting legislative action and school policy reforms that guarantee all students the right to learn in schools free from sex discrimination and gender-based violence.