Fulton County Schools Settles Federal Investigation Over Special Needs Student Sexual Assaults

Fulton County Schools Settles Federal Investigation Over Special Needs Student Sexual Assaults

The United States Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement with Fulton County Schools in Georgia following an investigation into the district’s handling of student-on-student sexual assaults on a school bus for students with special needs. The investigation was conducted under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

“Children with disabilities can be especially vulnerable and deserve to thrive in a learning environment free of violence of any kind, including when traveling to and from school aboard buses,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. He commended the school district’s cooperation in resolving the matter amicably to ensure the safety of these children.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division emphasized the school’s duty to protect students, particularly those with disabilities, and to address barriers to reporting sexual assault. She noted that the agreement would ensure safety on school buses and improve training for bus drivers and monitors.

The investigation revealed that the district had inadequate procedures and insufficient training for handling student-on-student sexual harassment and assault. It also found that the district failed to accommodate the special needs of students with disabilities and did not make the reporting process accessible for parents and guardians with limited English proficiency.

As part of the settlement, Fulton County Schools will:

  • Revise policies for responding to complaints of sexual misconduct
  • Train personnel on handling student-on-student sexual misconduct, focusing on the vulnerabilities of students with disabilities
  • Ensure accommodations for students with disabilities to support their communication needs
  • Provide language assistance services to Limited English Proficient parents and guardians

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia collaborated with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section on the investigation. Aileen Bell Hughes, Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity and Civil Rights Section, led the case for the district.

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