The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has opened their investigation into Winchester Public Schools and the handling of their Title IX regulations.
After a former John Handley High School student was sexually assaulted in the summer of 2017, the victim, Francesca, and her mother, Danielle Bostick, brought the matter to the city school board who denied her claims. Former representative of Virginia’s 10th district, Barbara Comstock, stepped in and referred their complaint to the U.S. Department of Education.
“Our initial goal was just for Francesca to be able to attend school without being afraid. But, shortly thereafter we realized there were systemic problems in Winchester Public Schools and the goal became to protect other people who might be in this situation,” said Francesca’s mother Danielle Bostick.
Winchester Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Jason Van Heukelum, said the following in a written statement:
“The Winchester Public Schools is committed to investigating and responding to any allegation of harassment. In addition, we are committed to uphold and abide by all of the Winchester Public Schools policies and applicable state and federal law. We look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Education as they analyze our response in this particular case.”
Officials say the investigation could take up to a year or more.