Throughout South Carolina and the entire country, reports of sexual assaults on children by teachers are steadily rising. Schools are supposed to be a safe environment for kids to grow and learn. The fact that sexual assaults at school are becoming more prevalent is alarming. As a Columbia attorney representing victims of sexual abuse, I want to inform the community about the warning signs, as well as what damages can be recovered when a child is sexually abused at school.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Teachers, class monitors, administrators, and coaches hold power over students. Sadly, some of these people abuse their power for sexual gain. While male teachers often come under greater scrutiny, female teachers are almost equally likely to assault a student. Teachers likely to abuse their students usually try to earn the trust of the school, the family, and the student before exploiting the relationship. Teachers spending significant time alone with a student can be a red flag. Likewise, teachers who overly involve themselves in a student’s personal life should be monitored. If you are suspicious of sexual assault, abuse, or misconduct against your child, it is important to immediately notify the school and police.
Who Can You Hold Accountable?
So who is responsible other than the abusive staff member? In most instances, the answer is the school district. School districts are responsible for ensuring that teachers undergo thorough background investigations before they are hired. The taxpayer funded school district is also responsible for providing children with a safe environment while properly supervising their own employees. If they fail to meet these standards, and as a result a child is abused, the district may be found negligent.
When children are sexually abused at school – whether by a staff member or fellow student – various damages may be recovered. Aside from the physical harm done, children may experience a feeling of betrayal and powerlessness. Adults, especially teachers, are supposed to be nurturing and trustworthy. The breach of trust that results from sexual exploitation may therefore be devastating. Victims of sexual abuse often have difficultly trusting authority figures, and may have trouble developing intimate relationships as adults. Furthermore, many abuse victims experience feelings of vulnerability and guilt for many years. All of these harms are recognized by South Carolina law, and demand fair compensation.
Speak With a South Carolina Child Injury Lawyer
If your child was sexually assaulted at a South Carolina school, I am here to help. My law firm is based in Columbia, but I travel throughout the state helping injured children and their families. For answers to your questions, and guidance through the process, schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your case. For immediate assistance call me today at (803) 790-2800.