U.S. Department of Education Finds Tufts University in Massachusetts in Violation of Title IX for Its Handling of Sexual Assault and Harassment Complaints

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has found that Tufts University has failed to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to address sexual assault and harassment issues.

Although Tufts had entered into an agreement to remedy its violation on April 17, the university informed OCR on April 26 that it was “revoking” the agreement. This action constitutes a breach of the agreement. Under federal civil rights regulations, OCR may move to initiate proceedings to terminate federal funding of Tufts or to enforce the agreement. The office stands ready to confer with Tufts on how to come into compliance speedily.

Full story of Tufts Universities charges at ed.gov

Silence on Rape Is the Biggest Obstacle to Prevention

Silence is Rapes Biggest ObstacleI recently held a seminar on rape in war with military lawyers from across the world. We talked through a number of obstacles to prevention and elimination of sexual violence, but at the end of the seminar everyone agreed that the biggest of them all is silence. “We don’t ever get to have this conversation,” the participants agreed.

Unfortunately, this is particularly true in the countries most affected by sexual violence in war: Not only is rape not talked about, but many of those who try to address this terrible crime are attacked, often violently. On Oct. 25, unknown men carried out an assassination attempt on Dr. Denis Mukwege, and succeeded in killing his bodyguard, Joseph Bizimana. Dr. Mukwege is known for his tireless work in defense of women victims of sexual violence in the Congo.

Silence also reigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This week, Amnesty International launched a briefing paper detailing the continued silence about the rapes in Republika Srpska, almost two decades after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended. To the extent there is any attention to the widespread rapes during the 1992-95 conflict, it is focused on the perpetrators — though many are still at large. Meanwhile, the women and girls who suffered systematic rape and forced pregnancies are overlooked.

Full story of sexual violence at Huffington Post

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

RAINN Day Conversations Shed New Light on Sexual Violence

New Light Shed on Sexual ViolenceJerry Sandusky. "Legitimate" rape. Daniel Tosh. The women’s health care debate. If there were ever an era in which sexual violence was inextricably linked to many of the most talked-about headlines, this would be it. While today marks the 18th year in which the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization,RAINN (which stands for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), has worked to raise awareness of the issue and the recovery resources surrounding it, the underlying problems press on.

Someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every two minutes. More than half of those assaults go unreported. Some 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail. So, what’s being done about it? Is there any hope at all?

The statistics are discouraging at best, but significant signs of progress are visible. The year prior to RAINN’s establishment in 1994 by musician Tori Amos and Scott Berkowitz, who continues to serve as the group’s president, 485,000 Americans were victims of sexual violence. To date, the number has plummeted to just over 200,000. The 60-plus percent decrease isn’t enough for advocates to rest on their laurels by any means, but it does illustrate something: the conversation itself is critical.

Full story of sexual violence at Huffington Post

Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/

Bullying victims take schools to courts

Bullying Victims Take Schools To CourtIn the days following her son’s suicide, Jeannie Chambers told a television reporter in Sioux City that she wasn’t sure if she wanted charges filed against the classmates who bullied her boy.

Her son, Kenneth Weishuhn, was only 14 when he killed himself April 15. His death inspired rallies and candlelight vigils across the state and reignited a debate about bullying, responsibility and liability.

The reason for Chambers’ indecisiveness seemed altruistic. She didn’t want another mother to lose a child, she said.

But bullying victims and their families have increasingly turned to the legal system for recourse. They’re going beyond pushing for criminal charges and civil penalties against bullies. They’re taking on school systems — and winning.

Full story of bullying in court at WCF Courier

Photos courtesy of and copyright stock.xchng, http://www.sxc.hu/

One in six seventh graders are victims of dating violence: survey

Young Dating ViolenceSeventh-grade students have experienced alarming rates of physical violence at the hands of a romantic partner, including being shoved, grabbed, hit or kicked, a survey of middle schoolers showed on Thursday.

Nearly one in six of 1,430 students surveyed, most of whom were just 12 years old, said they had experienced physical dating violence in the past six months, while more than one in three had witnessed such violence among their peers.

Moreover, nearly a quarter said they had a friend who was violent to their partner, and a similar proportion strongly disagreed that hitting their girlfriend or boyfriend would lead to a break-up.

"Society doesn’t think about these behaviors happening among middle schoolers," Shari Miller, lead researcher at RTI International, which conducted the survey, told Reuters, describing the results as "definitely alarming".

Full story of young dating violence at WSBT.com

Sexual assaults: Protecting our children

By Stephanie Myles

School Sexual AssaultsMONTREAL – Parents send their children out into the big, bad world every morning, fingers crossed they’ll return home safe and sound every night.

For many, sport always seemed to be a positive activity that kept their kids healthy and busy and, for the gifted few, might lead to a professional career.

The safe haven for some has been a house of horrors for many – one that is whispered about and denied exponentially for every story that sees the light of day.

It’s nothing new. But with all the attention on the sexual assaults allegedly committed on young boys by well-regarded football coach Jerry Sandusky of Penn State and basketball Bernie Fine of Syracuse University, the myth of the “safe haven” that has been eroding incident by local incident, kid by kid, became mainstream news around the world.

Full story on sexual assaults at The Montreal Gazette

Disparities in Treating Kids of Different Ethnicities in Trouble at School

By Beverly Ford

Sonya Vivas Ethnic School TroubleA good student with no disciplinary record, Sonia Vivas was on track to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer when an encounter with two other teens sent her life into a tailspin. Accused of stealing a cell phone and pulling a knife on a student, the 14-year-old eighth grader was tossed out of school in 2007 with little more than a cursory hearing after the mother of one of the girls, both white, complained her daughter felt threatened.

For six months, Vivas, who denies the accusations, says she languished at home, banished from classes at her Somerville, Mass., middle school where she was the only Hispanic student in the eighth grade. “It was pretty traumatizing,” she says today, reflecting on the incident she now believes was sparked by jealousy over her friendship with one of the girl’s ex-boyfriend. “It made me feel pretty horrible. It changed my life.” With no due process rights to a hearing under Massachusetts law, Vivas was expelled from school after only a brief interview with the school principal to explain her side of the story. Today, nearly five years later, school officials declined comment on Vivas’ dismissal but said where student safety is an issue, the expulsion process remains unchanged.

Full story at The Cutting Edge

Guest View: Teen sexual harassment is remarkable silent problem

By Inga Schowengerdt

Teen Sexual Harassment In SchoolsHas your child ever been sexually harassed? Would you know it if they were? Whatever your answers to these questions are, you might want to consider new research revealing that sexual harassment among teens is shockingly common, strikingly underreported, and that what we don’t know as adults is hurting our kids.

"Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School," is a new report by the American Association of University Women. The report has the most comprehensive research on sexual harassment among students in Grades 7-12 and sheds light on the ways in which sexual harassment has become a normal part of teen life. The research reveals that nearly half of all students in those grades were sexually harassed last year and only about one-fifth of these teens told their parents.

Additionally, victimized teens report being distracted in school, feeling physically sick and not wanting to go to school, while many perpetrators of harassment are themselves former victims. These data serve as an unsettling call to action for anyone who cares about the well-being of today’s young people, because what we do or don’t do about sexual harassment among teens will determine whether patterns of victimization and perpetration persist and evolve as teens become adults.

Full story at South Coast Today

When the bully is the teacher or an administrator

By Craig Garrison

Bullying By School AdministrationThe entire nation is aware of bullying and its effects on students. There are a host of national campaigns and programs to address this topic head on. Here in the CNMI we are also staying active on the anti-bullying front with proposed legislation and the creation of policy for the protection of cyber-bullying among other forms now being introduced at both the state and school district levels. Most notably being introduced by students themselves, which is rather ironic in as much as adults are supposed to be protecting them.

But what happens when the bully is the teacher or administrator? Where is the policy language to speak to that? Where do students go when the very people we tell them to go to when they are being bullied are actually the ones who are doing the bullying? This conduct happens in schools districts across America and in many cases the student chooses to simply change schools when it gets out of hand. Unfortunately, here in the CNMI our students do not have the luxury of choosing schools. Recent research shows that there is likely at least one bully teacher or administrator in every school. For staffing patterns that are at or above 100 employees that number increases. What that equates to at the high school level in the CNMI is that the single bully teacher has an estimated 120 students under their charge that may be subject to their bullying on a daily basis and this can be seriously devastating for the student and even affecting their family.

Full story at Saipan Tribune

Nine-year-old boy suspended for ‘sexual harrassment’

By Gregory Kane

Sexual Harassment In SchoolThis is a tale of a bus and a guy named Bostic.

Bostic’s first name is Jerry. He’s probably a pretty swell guy, I suppose. At least, by his own admission, he is.

He spent 44 years as an educator. And, Bostic said recently, he "really enjoyed" working with the kiddies.

The bus in this story is the figurative one that Bostic got tossed under. Details of the Bostic and the bus story go like this.

Bostic, until very recently, was principal of Brookside Elementary School in Gastonia, N.C. One of the students there was a 9-year-old fourth-grader named Emanyea Lockett.

Little Emanyea must have shown signs that he was on his way to becoming a heterosexual male, and there are elements in America today that would sure like to nip that trend in the bud. Emanyea told one of his fellow students that he thought a certain female teacher was "cute."

Full story at The Examiner