Parents of students at Tabasco Elementary School in La Joya have been protesting and demanding resignations from administrative staff over their handling of the alleged sexual abuse of a 5-year-old girl at the school.
The alleged incident occurred in April and involved a 14-year-old student mentor with the Valued Youth Program taking a 5-year-old girl into the boy's restroom, where he sexually assaulted her. Parents have launched a petition demanding that the chief of police, superintendent, and student services staff all resign from their positions for allegedly mishandling this incident.
Parents have also begun staging an ongoing protest outside of the school, holding signs and demanding answers. In a report by KVEO-TV, many parents said that they have concerns about the safety of their children while at the school in the wake of the alleged assault.
The teen who allegedly committed the abuse was arrested and placed on one year of probation. Many parents are angry about what they view as a light sentence for a heinous crime. The school district suspended the Valued Youth Program amid the public outcry following the breaking of this story.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan helps sexual abuse survivors and their families find justice. We've asked him to add some insight into how the legal system can help the families in this difficult situation:
Our children spend most of their days at school. As parents, we all should be able to expect that our educational institutions are safe, but this is unfortunately not always the case. Sometimes, students become the victims of sexual violence and other crimes committed by staff or fellow students. When this happens, it's important to make sure the perpetrator gets the punishment they deserve and that the school district is held accountable if negligence was a factor in failing to prevent the crime.
In some cases of school sexual abuse, the incident only happened because of negligence on the part of the district and their staff. An example would be inadequate supervision of students enabling one student to sexually abuse another. When negligence is to blame, the parents of the victim may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school district.
Establishing negligence is a complicated legal process which will require the assistance of an experienced sexual abuse victims lawyer. You can learn more about your family's legal options by speaking with one of our sexual abuse victims lawyers in a free consultation.