A teenager is suing Fayette County Public Schools officials after she said she was expelled for reporting an on-campus sexual assault.
The National Women’s Law Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, filed the suit Friday in federal court on behalf of the ex-Fayette County High School student, according to a news release.
AJC.com does not identify accusers of alleged sexual assault without their consent. The teen spoke to Channel 2 Action News shortly after she was expelled in 2017.
“I came to them and they did me wrong,” she told the news station. “I told them what happened, and I still got in trouble for it.”
In August of that year, the teen said another student pressured her to perform oral sex, preventing her from leaving until she did. She said she reported the incident the next day, which led to her being expelled for sexual impropriety.
“What we’re alleging is that the school violated Title IX, which is a federal law that says that you have to prevent and address sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment and assault in school,” Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, director of educational equity and senior counsel for the National Women's Law Center, told Channel 2.
The superintendent, school board and three former administrators at the high school are named in the suit.
In the complaint, the teen alleges the student accused of sexual assault had similar issues in the past, and administrators “were or should have been on a heightened duty to protect other students from sexual harassment by him.” The student has not been charged with a crime.
“We thought this case was just so egregious — so many things done wrong — that we felt like we had to represent the student to get her justice and to get her education back on track,” Onyeka-Crawford said.
While the district would not comment on the lawsuit, an official did send a brief statement to Channel 2.
“The school system has not seen the complaint but will respond through the court proceedings, and fully expects to prevail on the legal and factual merits of the claims,” the district said.
Officials also said the district provides due process to all students and abides by their sexual harassment policies.
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