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Civil Rights

Betsy DeVos Gets a Lesson in Civil Rights Now That Her High School Is Being Sued

There are phone calls a parent never wants to get. We received one such call, informing us that our daughter had been raped on a school field trip. Living through the nightmare of the rape and its aftermath was devastating, but equally traumatic was the fallout we experienced when the school failed to uphold our daughter’s civil rights under Title IX. Like countless families, we became victims of “institutional betrayal,” as I describe in Why We Need Title IX to Let Her Learn: A Parent’s Perspective. Little did we know our experience would later provide an opportunity to educate the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, about the violation of Title IX in her own alma mater, Holland Christian School, and to explain why a lawsuit filed in Michigan this week is so important for all students. As secondary victims of our daughter’s assault, we parents have come full circle: We are empowered advocates, educating families about their rights under Title IX, the civil rights law we knew little about when we needed it the most. Our understanding of Title IX now likely exceeds that of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos herself. Although we deplore the weak level of Title IX enforcement in both public and private schools, we take satisfaction in the opportunity to use this case as a “teachable moment.” Watch this video and find out more about the lawsuit filed by Michigan attorney Karen Truskowski this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbe8TXdoodg Read the video transcript here.
An original version of this post appeared on Stop Sexual Assault in Schools as The Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Betsy DeVos’s High School Alma Mater: What It Means For Every Student.
Esther Warkov, Ph.D, is Executive Director, and Co-Founder of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools. She is currently building a national network of parents, advocates, students and organizations dedicated to the mission of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools. Prior to this advocacy work, Dr. Warkov received several awards including a Fulbright-Hays grant for original research in Wales, a grant from the ...

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