Well, if this don't beat all. On October 13, 2015, a 14-year-old girl in Lansing, MI was sexually assaulted at school by a boy her same age, and then suspended for 10 days for "lewd and lascivious behavior." She was suspended. The girl. Yep.
The girl, identified only as Jane Doe, filed a complaint with the police saying she was "violently and forcibly assaulted" in a stairwell of Eastern High School. The attack was caught on a security camera. She didn't even report the assault to school authorities at first, though, because she thought she'd get in trouble. But the following day, the boy did report the incident, adding that the girl's boyfriend was threatening him.
When called in to give her side of the story, Doe told the school's safety officer that the unnamed boy, identified as John Roe, "had taken her into the stairwell, took his penis out of his pants, masturbated himself, forced her to rub his penis, and attempted to force his penis into her mouth." She claimed she'd consented to none of this. After watching the security camera footage, the school decided that she was an "active participant," because it didn't look like she was resisting. As a result, both she and her attacker were suspended for 10 days for "lewd and lascivious behavior," and the boy was transferred to another school.
The girl's mother, however, disputed the school's suspension, and filed a report with the Lansing Police Department. On October 22, Doe and her parents met with Sharon McWilliams, a student services specialist. McWilliams watched the footage and came to the conclusion that Doe actually didn't consent, but that she didn't try hard enough to stop it.
Doe asked McWilliams, "What did you expect me to do, hit him?" to which McWilliams reportedly said, "No, you should not have hit him, but you could have said to him, 'Is that all you've got?,'" meaning his penis size. Interesting defense plan.
Doe's suspension stood, and she was told that she couldn't come back to school until, as her lawyer Karen Truszkowski said, "they could put a plan in place to 'curb her behavior.'" So basically, Doe had to first learn how not to get sexually assaulted in the future. Good luck with that.
Broadly spoke to Neena Chaudhry, the director of education and senior counsel with the National Women's Law Center, who said, "The data shows that girls and boys are being sexually assaulted at every level of education. It's a nationwide problem. Schools have Title IX obligations to investigate promptly when they learn about a sexual assault. It doesn't sound like that's what happened here. It sounds like a lot of things went wrong."
So now Jane Doe and Truszkowski are suing the school district for failure to properly investigate the assault, failure to adequately train supervisors, and failing to provide a procedure for students to file complaints of sexual violence. Truszkowski told Broadly, "My hope is that [this case] will settle without going to a trial. Hopefully the school will take a look at their policies and take some steps to create policies that comply with Title IX." Yes. That would probably be a good idea.