The cops asked us to hold off on our investigation…

It’s not unusual for situations that happen in the school to also involve police interaction.  Sometimes student misconduct may violate both school policies and criminal law, and in those cases, it’s not unusual for the police to ask the school not to investigate, for fear that the school’s efforts will somehow sabotage the criminal case. 

That very scenario led to accusations that the school was deliberately indifferent to student safety.  The background was a sexual assault of a girl by two boys.  Parents of the girl sued the school and three administrators alleging violations of Title IX and Section 1983.  But the court held that the district was not deliberately indifferent even though it did delay investigating the matter until the police completed their investigation. 

The court noted that “under the circumstances it was not unreasonable for the District to respect the police’s instructions to delay its investigation.” The delay was for about two weeks, and during that time the school took interim measures designed to keep the students apart.  It’s interesting to note that the school was sued by one of the boys involved in the incident as well. He claimed that the way the district handled the matter violated Title IX and due process.

It's Roe v. Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School District, decided by the federal court for Massachusetts. We came across it on Special Ed Connection at 78 IDELR 156.


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Tomorrow: when is a “fact” “conclusory”?