Harassment Under the Law

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This is how Virginia, Maryland and the District define sexual offenses by schoolchildren.

• In Virginia, offensive sexual touching is "improper physical contact against a student that is offensive, undesirable, and/or unwanted as determined by the victim." Officials are directed to "consider age, developmentally appropriate behavior, and disability status" before using this category.

• In Maryland, sexual harassment is "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other inappropriate verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, directed toward others."

• In the District, a student commits sexual harassment "when he/she engages in conduct consisting of unwelcome and unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature which denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive environment for students, employees, or others in the school environment such that it interferes with the employment duties of employees or the effective performance of the school-related functions of others."

SOURCES: Virginia Department of Education, Maryland State Department of Education's Student Records System Manual 2007, D.C. Municipal Regulations, Title 5, Chapter 25

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