Stock image used to protect the identity of the student survivor
Content warning: Sexual assault of a minor.
Flor’s high school daughter was sexually assaulted by two schoolmates at an off-campus party. When a fellow classmate reported the rape to a school staff member, Flor was called to the school for a meeting with her daughter and school officials. Rather than offering support, or telling her how the assailants would be punished, the school suggested that Flor’s daughter take the rest of the semester off because her classmates were being distracted by the gossip at her expenses. Flor’s daughter was informally suspended, while the assailants remained in school unpunished.
“It was a very stressful time,” Flor says. “I felt a lot of discrimination, like if I had been white or had money, the school would’ve probably treated me and my baby better.”
Flor searched for a way to help her daughter after the school’s mistreatment, but hit many walls.
I had gone to the DA’s office, to the sheriff, to the highway patrol. I was trying everything I could do for her. I thought I didn’t have any hope left, but I kept fighting for my baby. And then I found ERA.
ERA attorneys Maha Ibrahim and Brenda Adams worked with Flor and her daughter to sue the school district. They also successful got the district to agree to changes at every one of their schools, so that no other student would not have to go through the same mistreatment after reporting sexual assault. ERA is helping to write and oversee the implementation of these new policies, which will impact 49,000 students in the district.
“I am so thankful that there was justice — that we got justice, and the school paid for how they mistreated her,” Flor says. “I feel like these ladies were there by her side through everything — how they worked with her and how they fought for her, how they were there and they never gave up. They’re so dedicated to what they do, and they don’t give up. They fight.”
Flor’s daughter is using some of the settlement money to pay for nursing school, to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
She got up and smiled today. I haven’t seen that smile in a while, so I’m thinking that she will be OK. Her life is not ever going to be the same. But just to hear my baby say ‘Mom it’s over, we won.’ It was beautiful for her. We got justice.