AUSTIN, Texas - Austin ISD has been named in a lawsuit that alleges the district did not properly investigate several instances of sexual assault of students in their care.
Several parents have assembled together to file the suit, and their lawyer, Martin Cirkiel, said they want to see change in the district. “They have a duty under federal law and even their own policies and procedures to serve the child’s need,” said Cirkiel.
The lawsuit claims the assaults happened on campus, either by other students or by Austin ISD employees. The children assaulted range in age from kindergarten to high school.
Cirkiel said all these cases were never reported to the school district’s Title IX coordinator. The lawsuit also claims that the district did not provide the students with any counseling, psychological services or other remedies "in a timely manner," in keeping with federal law and the school board's own policies and procedures.
“Not only it is the horror we as parents deal with when this situation occurs but then feeling victimized again because the complaints are not being addressed,” said Cirkiel.
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Some of the parents who are a part of the lawsuit and whose identity we will not be releasing, shed light on their experience when it came to reporting what happened to their child.
“Stonewalled from the district, I didn’t hear from anybody for almost a year later,” said one parent.
“I feel like they were always trying to protect themselves. The image of Austin that’s what they are trying to protect,” said another parent.
FOX 7 Austin requested comment from Austin ISD on the allegations and they responded with the following statement:
Austin ISD has not yet been served with the lawsuit but will address the issue at the appropriate time. AISD does not tolerate any form of sexual violence or assault. If a student believes that they have experienced prohibited behavior, they should immediately report the alleged act. All claims are taken seriously and the district will make every reasonable effort to protect our students.