The Associated Press reviewed verdicts and settlements across the country in lawsuits brought against schools over student-on-student sexual abuse . Here are some notable recent cases:
BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — Chaz Wing was 12 when they came after him. The classmates who tormented him were children, too, entering the age of pimples and cracking voices.
Schools facing reports of student-on-student sexual assault long have been warned by the courts about potential monetary liabilities. The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has offered schools guidance on how to prevent and respond to such attacks, including:
— Implement schoolwide programs that define sexual violence, encourage students and staff to report it, and clearly state the school's disciplinary procedures.
The children were confused, scared and hurt. In their own words, they did their best to convey what other students had done to them in the school restroom, the gym and the bus. What their families learned left them shaken and set up an unexpected, adversarial relationship with their school districts.
The Georgia school district said it was investigating the baseball players for "misbehavior" and "inappropriate physical contact." What it didn't reveal was that a younger teammate had reported being sexually assaulted.
Even after players were later disciplined for sexual battery, the district cited student confidentiality to withhold details from the public and used "hazing" to describe the incident, which it also failed to report to the state as required.
Sexual assault on college campuses has made headlines for years, but The Associated Press sought to determine whether it also is a problem among younger students and, if so, to what extent.
There are no federal requirements for elementary and secondary schools to report such assaults and academic research aimed at quantifying the number of assaults at schools throughout the U.S. has been based only on sample surveys.
As part of its project tracking student-on-student sexual assaults, The Associated Press analyzed a national database of crime information collected by the FBI, which has started including codes that identify if an offense was reported on elementary or secondary school grounds. The data also contains demographic details not available from state education agencies.
ESTILL, S.C. (AP) — The numbers are horrific: At least four students, ages 11 to 14, victimized by as many as 30 kids in one of the largest single cases of sexual assault reported on U.S. school grounds.
And yet four years later, it's as if nothing happened.
The children who sexually assault other children may be the popular jocks, the loners or anyone in between. There is no typical attacker, no way for schools to predict who might inflict that kind of torment on a classmate.
Thousands of school-age offenders are treated annually for sexual aggression in the United States, yet experts see no standard profile of personality, background or motivation.
HOUSTON (AP) — Hector and Itza Ayala sat in a conference room at Houston's prestigious high school for the performing arts, clutching a document they hoped would force administrators to investigate their 15-year-old daughter's claim of a classroom sex assault.
When children sexually assault other children at school, sometimes the only measure of justice comes through the courts.
The barriers are formidable, and can lead to long, grueling fights: Public schools in many states enjoy powerful shields, including caps on damages if they lose a lawsuit and high legal hurdles to prove misconduct. And a handful of states offer schools complete immunity from lawsuits in state court.
FOREST GROVE, Ore. (AP) — A pair of Oregon school districts were intent on identifying warning signs that students might be contemplating a campus shooting when they stumbled on a threat far more pervasive yet much less discussed — sexual aggression among classmates.