Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW

The Oklahoma Legal Group Blog

Bill Would Create Sexual Assault Response Programs for Oklahoma Schools

Adam Banner - Friday, February 27, 2015

Last fall, students in Norman, Oklahoma, made national headlines with the "Yes All Daughters" campaign aimed at holding school officials accountable for the protection of rape victims in their schools.

The campaign was established after Norman High School students say at least three girls were raped by the same student and then subsequently bullied out of school. The founders of the grassroots effort said that as a result of bullying and harassment, these rape victims left school, while the alleged perpetrator of the rapes continued to attend school and even bragged about his actions

Tristen Killman-Hardin, 18, is accused of raping girls who were too intoxicated to give consent or to fight him off. He allegedly made a cell phone video of one of the rapes. A friend gave police a cell phone audio recording purported to be Killman-Hardin admitting to raping the girl and knowing that she was unconscious. He was ultimately expelled from the school and arrested on two counts of first degree rape of an unconscious victim. He is currently held in the Cleveland County Jail.

In response to the #YesAllDaughters campaign, Norman Public Schools officials created a task force to "study gender-based violence and bullying." The 24-member Gender-based Violence & Bullying Prevention & Response Task Force is charged with implementing student support resources and education as well as creating a job description for a Student Support Specialist at the Norman high schools who "will focus solely on providing support and any wraparound services for students who have been victims of trauma, sexual assault, harassment, and/or bullying." Not only does the district wish to place a Student Support Specialist at each high school, but it wants to implement "education and prevention programs" within the next school year.

Norman school officials say they want the task force and resulting programs to be a model for other schools in handling student sexual assault and bullying. Oklahoma Rep. Claudia Griffith agrees that these types of programs should be in place in all Oklahoma schools. She has sponsored House Bill 1362, a sexual assault response bill that would make such programs a requirement of every school safety program.

HB 1362 would amend 70 O.S. § 24-100.5 to add the creation of sexual assault response programs to the duties of each district's Safe Schools Committee. The added language reads:

5. Development of a rape or sexual assault response program that would inform students and school staff on the appropriate emotional response and victim support needs and treatment following Ra rape or sexual assault incident that occurs at school or involves a student.

The sexual assault response bill unanimously passed through a House committee this week.

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