Though that figure represents the most complete tally yet of sexual assaults among the nation's 50 million K-12 students, it does not fully capture the problem because such attacks are greatly under-reported, some states don't track them, and those that do vary widely in how they classify and catalog sexual violence. Why don't we know more about it, and why isn't it being stopped?A number of academic estimates range sharply higher. " Elementary and secondary schools have no national requirement to track or disclose sexual violence, and they feel tremendous pressure to hide it.
The school district staunchly defends how it handled its investigation.The junior high principal said his inquiry determined that the sexual assaults were "very unlikely." One of the accused boys, he noted, had never even heard of anal rape."There is—as there should be—always an inclination to believe allegations of sexual assault at the outset," district lawyer Melissa Hewey said in an email to AP."But sometimes, the evidence compels the conclusion that those allegations are false." "The little boys who were accused," she said, "are the real victims in this case and they deserve to be protected." Children remain most vulnerable to sexual assaults by other children in the privacy of a home, according to AP's review of the federal crime data, which allowed for a more detailed analysis than state education records.Chaz's saga is more than a tale of escalating bullying. S., thousands of students have been sexually assaulted, by other students, in high schools, junior highs, and even elementary schools—a hidden horror educators have long been warned not to ignore.
Relying on state education records, supplemented by federal crime data, a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press uncovered roughly 17,000 official reports of sex assaults by students over a four-year period, from fall 2011 to spring 2015."Schools are required to keep students safe," said Charol Shakeshaft, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor who specializes in school sexual misconduct. Even under varying state laws, acknowledging an incident can trigger liabilities and requirements to act.And when schools don't act—or when their efforts to root out abuse are ineffectual—justice is not served.Unwanted fondling was the most common form of assault, but about one in five of the students assaulted were raped, sodomized, or penetrated with an object, according to AP's analysis of the federal incident-based crime data.About 5 percent of the sexual violence involved 5- and 6-year-olds.But schools—where many more adults are keeping watch, and where parents trust their kids will be kept safe—are the No.