AUSTIN, December 17, 2020 — After Julia H. was sexually assaulted during an Austin Independent School District (AISD)-sponsored event, the district repeatedly mishandled the teenager's complaint.
"After I reported my sexual assault, my principal told me to stop talking about how the student had assaulted another girl and me. She threatened suspension if I ever mentioned it. She then said that my assault would never have happened if I had screamed," said Julia, Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC) client. "While the school was busy silencing me, the student who assaulted me went on to sexually assault a third student after that."
Virtual Press Conference, December 17, 2020
This all changed when Stephanie Elizalde took over as AISD Superintendent. "We sincerely hope Dr. Elizalde is not going to drop the ball when it comes to preventing sexual assault and harassment," TLSC Attorney Ann Heaps said. "AISD's in-house training is not working. They desperately need help to train employees to protect students. This training won't cost a dime. To Dr. Elizalde and AISD, we ask: Don't put our children unnecessarily at risk. Don't miss this opportunity to make our schools safer."
"While the school was busy silencing me, the student who assaulted me went on to sexually assault a third student after that."
"As a parent, it was disappointing to watch AISD fail my daughter, but it is really disturbing for the school district to sweep it under the rug and set the stage to allow sexual assaults to keep happening," said Karen, Julia's mother. "There is no good excuse to turn down a free training that would better equip your teachers and administrators to properly respond to sexual assault and harassment."
Julia is asking people who are concerned to contact Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-414-2482 and ask her to "Stop Sexual Assault and Start Training." Julia is also requesting those that support her cause to sign her Change.org petition: Demand that Austin Independent School District Stop Sexual Assault and Start Training.
About Texas Legal Services Center
Texas Legal Services Center is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide high-quality legal representation, advice, advocacy, and education at no cost to underserved people across the state. With more than a dozen practice areas, our work touches almost every aspect of civil law that impacts low-income Texans.
Meghan Lee, Communications
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