by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
From an investigation conducted by The Associated Press,
Student-on-student sexual assault is not just a problem on college campuses. It threatens thousands of kids a year in elementary, middle and high schools across America. Rich or poor, urban or rural, no school is immune. AP journalists spent a year investigating sexual assaults in elementary and secondary schools. It found they occurred anywhere students were left unsupervised: buses and bathrooms, hallways and locker rooms. Sometimes, victims and offenders were as young as 5 or 6. This story is part of that reporting project.
Unlike colleges and universities, there are no national requirements for U.S. elementary and secondary schools to track student sexual assaults. But 32 states and the District of Columbia do maintain information, though it is inconsistent and sometimes incomplete, The Associated Press found.
According to the Associated Press, North Carolina “required schools to report student incidents of rape, including forced intercourse with an incapacitated person; sexual assault, forced or unwanted contact without penetration; and sexual offense, defined as penetration by an object or intimate touching with the male sex organ. The state education department reported 860 offenses over the four years.”
North Carolina does not verify what schools or districts report and does not provide training aimed at preventing, reporting, or responding to student-on-student sex assault.