The attorney for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Rock Island-Milan School District is speaking out about the case. Jeffrey Kulwin of Kulwin, Masciopinto & Kulwin, LLP, attorney for plaintiffs G.C. and A.C. spoke with Local 4 about the lawsuit and what it means to his clients.

“What I can tell you about the lawsuit is that the lawsuit raises serious issues about whether or not the school district complied with the requirements of federal law as it relates to a report of sexual abuse of the student,” said Kulwin. “When a school learns of harm, it’s required under the law to take immediate action to protect the student, first and foremost, and to investigate what has occurred. That’s what this case is about.”

Kulwin said he was disturbed by the information in the lawsuit. “I think the fact that I found particularly troubling is that the school district has detailed policies about how these matters are supposed to be handled,” he said. “The allegations of the complaint suggest that the policies themselves were not followed. It’s important and essential to have these policies, but they are meaningless unless they are followed.”

The Rock Island-Milan School District has not responded to the lawsuit, but Kulwin says that’s not unusual. He said he expects to hear a response from the district in the next 30 to 45 days.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial instead of a bench trial, where a judge would rule on the case. Kulwin believes having a jury trial is important to the case. “I think the reason to have a jury trial is that the members of the community should be the ones to decide whether or not the law was followed in this instance,” he said. “We look forward to engaging with the school district and examining in a transparent way what happened here and how to make sure it never happens again. I think that a jury comprised of members of the community are some of the best folks to talk with about these issues.”

Kulwin said it’s important for the public to know how schools should be responding to incidents of Title IX violations. “There are appropriate responses to these sorts of concerns, and they (the public) should be insistent on making sure that school districts do what they’re supposed to do under the law. I think that’s the message of the case, to raise awareness about what should happen under these circumstances so that everyone who has to deal with these horrible events have access to all the resources available to make sure that kids have full access to education.”