The family of a Missouri seventh-grader continue their legal battle against the girl's school district this week, the latest development in an ongoing traumatic saga for the young teen, a rape victim and special education student. Yes. You read that right. Not only does this youth face an inherent uphill battle in school and life, but she also was raped, and it is around this incident that the lawsuit is centered. Where was she raped? At school.
The girl was first raped at Republic Middle School in the spring of 2009, according to the lawsuit. After the mother notified the school, the girl described the rape and "multiple sexual assaults" she'd experienced at school that year to Duncan, Mithelavage and Ragain [school officials who are named in the lawsuit]. They then told the mother that they thought that her daughter made it all up.
Even after the girl provided details about her attack and named the attacker, the school officials, who ought to have been her protectors, dismissed her allegations as false; not only that, but they forced her to apologize to her accuser, and then punished her for filing a false allegation.
Following instructions from the school, the girl wrote an apology to the boy she accused of raping her and had to personally give it to him, according to the lawsuit. She was then expelled for the remainder of the 2008-09 school year. The school also told "juvenile authorities" that she filed a false report.
After she came back the following school year? Guess what happened next. The same boy raped her again. Now her family is suing the southwestern Missouri school district, Republic School District.
Pretty much everything about this story is appalling. The thought of any sexual assault happening at school is chilling. Public school is the only safe haven that some children have. And to see behavior like that in a middle school is all the more unsettling. Speaking from experience, a thirteen-year old girl may be one of the most vulnerable beings on the planet, and to see her violated physically breaks my heart. To have that violation compounded by trusted educators is offensive beyond all imagining. I only hope that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri agrees.
For the record, a physical confirmed that she was indeed raped, but the school district refuses to budge. How can there be any sense of justice when things like this can happen in our country?