Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reported Rape Raises Questions About Schools' Policy

By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 26, 2009; Page SM01

When Charles County police arrested a Henry E. Lackey High School senior last month and charged him with raping a 16-year-old in an empty classroom after school, several school board members said they were shocked by the system's brief policy on sexual offenses.

The student code of conduct says that any sexual offense is "viewed as potentially serious misconduct dependent upon the age and level of development of the student in question." The section on sexual offenses is 165 words long, compared with a 928-word policy on cellphones.

Discipline in sexual offense cases includes notifying the parents of students involved and, in most cases, legal authorities. In addition, the suspected offender is to be suspended "for up to 10 days," although the superintendent has the power to extend that period or expel the student.

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