In November, a group of parents of a 14-year-old girl in Indiana filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging that her school district had not offered the girl access to a safe space and allowed her to “exploit other children for attention.”
The lawsuit alleges that administrators failed to prevent bullying and harassment in the school.
But in a report this week, the state’s attorney general said that “children who engage in such behavior at school are not being punished.”
The report was released just as Indiana was considering new rules to improve safety at public schools.
“The state has received complaints of students using the restroom, locker room, locker rooms, or other facilities to engage in sexual activity, including kissing, touching, or grabbing, and that the students are being subjected to sexual harassment,” the attorney general’s office said.
“Children who engage and participate in such conduct are not receiving any type of disciplinary action.
They are being given an opportunity to learn from this mistake.”
Parents are seeking the “right to use the restroom and locker rooms of their choosing, to engage and enjoy each other’s company and to not be subject to inappropriate touching and bullying.”
The policy would also ban “any other activity that creates or promotes a hostile, intimidating, or demeaning environment, and is not specifically prohibited by the school.”
The news of the new policy came on the heels of a New York Times investigation in February which found that the state is “not doing enough to prevent the sexual harassment, assault, and bullying that have become a regular feature of high schools across the country.”
The state has seen an increase in incidents of harassment in recent months.
Earlier this month, a student at a nearby middle school in New York City was arrested on felony charges after he allegedly made a threatening comment and asked a female classmate to call police.
A similar incident at a school in California this week involved a male student being accused of groping a female student and making sexually explicit remarks.
On Friday, a female college student who has been the target of verbal and physical abuse at school for her appearance has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that administrators have retaliated against her and denied her access to counseling and support services.
“I was so terrified,” the woman, who cannot be identified for her own safety, told The Huffington Post.
“It’s hard to sleep.
I’ve been crying all day, thinking about my kids.
I feel like they are going to be the ones that get hurt, not me.”