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Seminario de Seguridad Negligente | Marzo 2015>

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    Steps to Take if Your Child Has Been Physically or Sexually Abused at School

    From pre-K facilities through high schools, all schools should provide safe, comfortable environments where children can learn and grow. Unfortunately, however, it’s not uncommon for teachers, coaches, and other school employees to use their positions of authority to physically or sexually abuse students. As a parent, finding out that your child has been abused while at school can be devastating and infuriating, and it may be difficult to know what to do or where to turn as you seek justice.

    Here are a few steps to take if you suspect that your child has been physically or sexually abused at school:

    • Recognize the signs. Depending on their age, relationship with the abuser, and various other factors, children may try to conceal the fact that they have been harmed—particularly if the abuse is sexual in nature. Watch for unexpected signs and symptoms, which may range from behavioral changes (such as acting out, withdrawing from friends and family, or regressive behaviors) to unexplained injuries to emotional issues, including signs of depression or anxiety.
    • Contact the school board and officials. If it appears likely that your child has been abused at school, it’s important to request a meeting with school officials as soon as possible—any delays in reporting the incident(s) may have a negative impact if you choose to pursue a claim in the future.
    • Request that the school district conduct an investigation. School districts should take allegations of abuse very seriously and should willingly conduct an investigation that yields a formal, written report of their findings. However, if the school district does not provide an adequate solution, you may need to file a complaint with the Department of Education or a state agency. Physical and sexual abuse claims may also involve the criminal justice system.
    • Consult an experienced, trauma-informed attorney. The legal landscape surrounding the physical or sexual abuse of children by school employees can be complex, involving local, state, and/or federal laws. As you navigate the process of pursuing a claim against the abuser, working with an attorney who has experience in this field can help ensure that your child’s interests are represented.

    At Leighton Panoff Law, we have over 35 years of experience representing victims of physical and sexual abuse, and our attorneys are highly sensitive to the unique needs of young victims in these cases. We have won several large verdicts on behalf of victims, including a recent $49.3 million verdict for a teenager who was raped by her math teacher. If you suspect that your child has been abused at school, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible by calling 888.988.1774.


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