A Henderson High student who went public to fight the district's placing her in alternative school with her alleged rapist says she's happy the policy has been changed.
Rachel Bradshaw, 19, eventually graduated from another district after the March 2010 incident. Bradshaw told authorities she had been raped, but, she says, they insisted she had engaged in consensual sex and sent both her and the boy to an alternative school.
The ACLU of Texas got involved and the district, which otherwise has not commented on the case, announced it was changing its policy regarding how it responds to such incidents.
"I am so excited and overwhelmed," Bradshaw said. "It's great to know that because I spoke out, the school district will completely change the way it responds to sexual abuse. I can't erase what happened in the past, but what's important now is making sure that other students don't get hurt in the same way in the future. I got back my rights after they were taken away from me."
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"Rape is a violent and invasive act," said Stephanie Bauman, staff attorney with the ACLU of Texas. "Rachel needed support and protection from trusted teachers and received exactly the opposite. They punished her. No child should be victimized a second time after such a horrible attack."
The federal Office for Civil Rights ordered Henderson ISD to take the following steps:
-- Revising its policies regarding discrimination and sexual harassment and submitting them for OCR review.
-- Providing mandatory annual training for staff for at least two years.
-- Designating one counselor at each school as "on call" for sexual harassment victims.
-- Reviewing campus police records to determine if there were any other violations.
-- Clearing Bradshaw's record.
-- Creating a committee of staff, parents, sexual violence prevention organizations and students to educate the school community about sexual violence and harassment.