Federal Government Reviewing Sexual Violence in D.C. Schools

April 5, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — The federal government is investigating how D.C. public schools respond to reports of sexual violence and what they are doing to prevent such incidents, a senior U.S. education official said Monday. The inquiry comes after an allegation of a rape last fall at Dunbar High School in Northwest Washington. Russlynn H. Ali, assistant education secretary for civil rights, said that even though criminal charges were eventually dropped in that case, the incident raised broader questions that warrant federal review.  “Now it’s about what is the environment in your school and in your district,” Ali said. “Do girls and young women feel safe? What are the procedures if this were to happen again? What would be the immediate response?”  Ali said federal officials were seeking to help D.C. Acting Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and other school chiefs across the country who might face similar challenges. “They need to make sure they have a culture that is safe for all of their students,” Ali said.

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