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Bellingham Public Schools Fail to Report Alleged Sexual Abuse

A 16-year-old girl has filed a lawsuit against Bellingham Public Schools, in response to their failure to report her alleged sexual abuse at the hands of another student. The assaults reportedly began in October, 2021. On January 14, 2022, the girl reported the assaults to the Dean of Students at Squalicum High School in Bellingham, Washington. According to the victim, the dean’s response was, "What do you want me to do about it?" The victim subsequently contacted two additional school administrators to report the sexual violence being perpetrated against her. Court documents indicate that none of the administrators reported the abuse to police; they are required to by law.

One staff member allegedly made the victim and the student accused of abusing her participate in a "restorative circle," where the victim was told to  "shake hands and you'll be fine." As a result, the victim withdrew from Squalicum High School and transferred to another school. The district denied that it mishandled the student's reports and said that it took reasonable steps to report the harassment. The three employees who allegedly failed to act on the victim’s reports of abuse are still working full time for the school district, albeit in different roles. During a school board meeting in December, members voted to pay for legal representation for the employees named in the suit.

If you or your child have been a victim of sexual abuse by a school official, you may be entitled to compensation. It is vital to have knowledgeable legal representation to protect your child's rights and fight for justice. Call the sexual assault lawyers at Carpenter & Zuckerman today. With 27 years of experience fighting on behalf of child sexual abuse victims, and more than $2 billion recovered for our clients, our formidable attorneys have the skills necessary to win your case. Call us at 425-786-2918 for a FREE and confidential case evaluation.

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