Sent Home From Middle School After Reporting A Rape

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This story contains a description of sexual assault.

Over spring break in April 2015, 13-year-old G. stopped eating and sleeping. She started having panic attacks and complained of excruciating pain. When G.’s friends and mother asked what was wrong, G. refused to tell them. Then, later that month, the video started to spread.

A boy in G.’s eighth-grade class at Spring Creek Community School, a public middle school in Brooklyn, had filmed himself penetrating G.’s mouth and anus. G. said she had been raped. The boy claimed the sex was consensual. To G.’s horror, the video he secretly filmed of her was shared all over Brooklyn.

“It was the most awful thing,” said G., who is identified by her middle initial to protect her privacy. “It was bad enough that everyone knew what happened. But knowing that they had seen the video was that much worse.”

No school principal wants to deal with such a catastrophe. But under the federal gender equity law Title IX, schools that receive federal funding have to thoroughly investigate all claims of sexual harassment and assault. Above all, schools must ensure that students aren’t denied their right to an education on the basis of sex.

When G. reported her rape, Spring Creek’s response denied her that very right, according to a federal complaint G.’s attorney filed against the New York City Department of Education in November 2015.

“Everyone was blaming things on me,” G. said. “It was so much pressure. I couldn’t take it. At times I felt like giving up on my life.”

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Two weeks after her assault, G.’s friends helped her tell a school staff member what had happened, according to the complaint. He asked her if the sex was consensual, but when she said it wasn’t, he did not report it to other administrators or police, despite state mandatory reporting laws.

Later that month, G. reported the rape and the video to the principal. The principal called the police and G.’s mother, then told G. to leave school while they got the situation under control. Her presence would just “make things worse,” the principal said, according to the complaint.