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Legal Protections for Maryland High School Athletes: Know Your Rights

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Legal Protections for Maryland High School Athletes: Know Your Rights

According to Maryland School Discipline Laws and Regulations, all students enrolled in the state’s public schools have the right to educational environments that are safe, appropriate for academic achievement, and free from any form of harassment. Unfortunately, many high school students are still targeted by sexually abusive coaches and school staff members, as evidenced by a number of recent news stories in the state. The attorneys at Andreozzi + Foote go over the responsibilities of public high schools to prevent and address sexual abuse cases and explain why hiring an attorney may be beneficial for those seeking justice after being sexually abused by a high school sports coach or school staff.

Do High School Athletes Have Any Legal Protections Against Sexual Abuse in Maryland?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that seeks to protect all students, including student-athletes, from any form of gender discrimination in educational institutions. This includes sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Under Title IX, educational institutions must take all necessary steps to prevent discrimination and sexual abuse and to respond quickly and appropriately whenever such cases are reported. In addition, Title IX also prohibits retaliation against any person who reports sexual abuse or files a complaint against a school staff member.

In addition, other laws, such as the Maryland Safe Schools Act of 2010, require all public schools to take steps to prevent bullying, harassment, and intimidation and to respond to reports of such cases without retaliating against the party who filed the report. Schools are also responsible for providing age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention training programs for all k-12 students.

How Does the Safe Sport Act Affect High School Sports in Maryland Public Schools?

The Safe Sport Act is a federal law that was passed in 2018 in order to provide amateur athletes with protection from sexual abuse. It requires national, state, and local governing bodies of youth amateur sports to put in place specific policies and procedures to prevent, detect, and respond to reports of sexual abuse among youth amateur athletes.
The Safe Sport Act may benefit high school athletes in Maryland public schools by making any adult who interacts with youth athletes a mandatory reporter, meaning the adult has a duty to report any instances of abuse or suspected abuse within 24 hours.

The act also specifies how cases of sexual abuse should be reported, including mandatory reporting to local law enforcement and local or state child protective services. In addition, the Safe Sports Act also extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse reports to 10 years, meaning a student-athlete has up to 10 years to file a report and take action after they realize they have been a victim of sexual abuse. The act also requires annual sexual abuse prevention training programs for all adults who interact with youth athletes.

What Legal Options Are There for Survivors of School Sexual Abuse in Maryland?

High school athletes who are survivors of school sexual abuse may have a few different legal options available to them, such as filing a civil lawsuit for damages against the perpetrator, the school, or the school district. By filing a civil lawsuit, the victim may be able to collect monetary damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages resulting from the abuse.

In some cases, the victim may be able to receive punitive damages, which consists of additional compensation ordered by a civil court with the intent to punish the perpetrator and deter similar conduct in the future. The party accused of sexually abusing a high school student-athlete may also face criminal charges in addition to civil consequences. Charges may range from misdemeanors to felonies that may result in jail time, fines, a criminal record, and a registration as a sex offender.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney for My Case?

Each sexual abuse case is different and may require a different approach in order to reach a favorable outcome. At Andreozzi + Foote, our skilled sexual abuse attorneys know how hard it is for victims to muster the courage to come forward and do what it takes to hold their school and their abuser liable for their suffering. Our legal team is here to help. Contact us at 866-311-8640 for a confidential consultation.

Need help now? Call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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