A lawyer who represents students who have been sexually assaulted has written an op-ed that says a high school is a “virtual space” where victims can “take refuge.”
In his op-ad, Mitchell High School Law School alum Michael Schmitt wrote that a student who was sexually assaulted at his school last year could “totally escape” such a situation if he “took refuge in a skyline.”
Schmitt, who represents one of two students who went on trial this month on sexual assault charges, said he does not think that is possible in the skyline, which is home to about 100 students.
Schmitt said that a sexual assault victim should be allowed to take a flight to a safer location, including an airplane, to escape what he called “a dangerous situation” if he is willing to “put in the time to be safe.”
“If a victim is unable to fly, they can stay in a hotel, they will be able to make calls, they have the ability to communicate with law enforcement,” he said.
“They can take a plane to safety.”
Schipp said that in the case of sexual assault, the victim is likely to have a significant emotional trauma and may not be able “to speak up, so a flight is not going to help them.
They may not even have a flight plan.”
Schimm wrote that the skylines “are often run by schools with very strict rules, and often run with very limited resources and supervision.”
“A victim of sexual abuse who needs to escape this situation should not be denied access to a safe, appropriate place to do so,” he wrote.
Schimm said that the legal system has often struggled to prosecute sexual assault cases because the victims often “are very young, the crime is usually committed by a very close friend or family member, and the victim has limited legal representation.
So often the victim may have no idea what is going on, and they are often reluctant to come forward.”
He wrote that sexual assault victims “can take a safe flight to safety” because “a safe flight can be provided for them by the school where they live.”
Schiff said he has spoken with law professors and students who say they feel unsafe at Skyline High School, where he has represented many students accused of sexual misconduct.
He said he believes that the school is “an extreme, extreme place.”
“They are very unsafe,” he told CNN’s “New Day.”
“They are not safe for the students.
The students are traumatized.
They are in fear of what they will say, what they are going to say.
They feel scared of what is happening.”
He said students are often terrified of what their friends will think about them because of what he described as the “crappy, old school atmosphere.”
Schmidt said that some of the students are reluctant to report what happened because of fear that “people will think they are crazy.”
Schmit said he is not suggesting that students report sexual assault.
Instead, he is suggesting that the university should take steps to protect students from harassment, intimidation and bullying that they say often takes place at schools.
“There is no excuse for this kind of behavior,” he added.
Schmit is the author of a book on sexual misconduct called “Shame, Secrets and Lies: A Guide to Getting Rid of It,” which he wrote with his wife, Kristi, in partnership with a former college classmate, Rachel Siegel.
He is the president of the Law School Admission Council, a student group that represents students in the legal community.
He has also served on the Board of Governors of the Southern Baptist Convention.