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Georgia lawmakers raise questions about high school student safety on college campuses

A committee of Georgia lawmakers sought assurances Tuesday from higher education administrators that they are taking the necessary steps to prevent sexual misconduct against high school students taking courses on college campuses.

Lawmakers on the House and Senate higher education committees asked during a joint meeting how campuses investigate sexual misconduct complaints made by students in the state’s dual enrollment program. The number of students in the program has skyrocketed in recent years, from about 11,484 during fiscal year 2013 to 35,862 in fiscal year 2017, according to a state review of the program released earlier this month.

“We keep increasing dual enrollment in this state and now we have all these high school young people on our college campuses, technical colleges as well as the University System (of Georgia). Do we have a way to deal with this?,” asked state Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, chairman of the senate’s higher education committee.

A Technical College System of Georgia official said it refers any misconduct allegations to child welfare officials and conduct joint investigations with the local public school district. A University System of Georgia official said it conducts similar practices.

No specific numbers detailing how many dual enrollment students have filed complaints were discussed during the hour-long hearing. 

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Millar and others also asked urged officials to make sure dual enrolled students take sexual misconduct orientation as soon as possible. Officials said they try to make sure students complete the training during the semester’s first six weeks.

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