Mississippi College Law Review

Publication Date

Summer 2023


Charter schools and sexual harassment are two hot-button issues in the education landscape, but their intersection is seldom addressed in research or public discourse. This Article examines whether K-12 charter schools report allegations of sexual harassment, including harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, at a rate different from that of traditional public schools. I analyzed data from the Department of Education’s 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) report and found that the average national reporting rate of sexual harassment allegations is significantly higher among traditional public schools than it is among charter schools. I then used the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ (NAPCS) state charter law scoring system to conduct a nonsystematic comparison of state policies, which allowed me to identify charter authorizer accountability as a charter policy category that is potentially correlated with reporting rate differences across states. I theorize that an ideology of broad-based exemption from public education regulations can lead to total resistance to government oversight within charter schools, which may translate to a lack of transparency in federal civil rights accountability. This study invites greater public attention and research into sexual harassment in K-12 schools, as well as the possibility that without appropriate policy design, the school choice movement risks eroding civil rights accountability in public education.


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