Sep 5, 2019

Michigan State fined $4.5 million for handling of Larry Nassar complaints

Larry Nassar. Photo: Rena Laverty/AFP/Getty Images

The Department of Education will fine Michigan State University $4.5 million for mishandling complaints against former school doctor Larry Nassar, who is facing 40–175 years in prison for sexually abusing athletes in his care and having child pornography, per AP.

The big picture: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says the school allowed the creation of a "sexually hostile environment" by failing to properly address reports of sexual assault by Nassar, who also worked for USA Gymnastics.

By the numbers:

  • Per the Detroit News, at least 14 university representatives knew of reports against Nassar in the 2 decades before his arrest. No fewer than 8 women reported Nassar's actions, per the investigation.
  • Michigan State also reached a settlement deal last year, granting $500 million to be divided among Nassar's accusers.

What she's saying:

"Too many people in power knew about the behaviors and the complaints and yet the predators continued on the payroll and abused even more students."
— Betsy DeVos

DeVos also said the school has agreed to improve its reporting procedures.

Go deeper: Global #MeToo movement has resulted in 6 convictions, 6 charges

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Schools face backlash for "shaming" students over lunch debt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Schools across the country are cracking down on school lunch debt, and some are getting public and political backlash for "shaming" low-income students who haven't paid their lunch tabs with tactics such as threatening to put them and their siblings in foster care and using collection agencies.

Why it matters: Children from low-income families can qualify for free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch at their schools, which receive federal funds for the meals served. As national demographics shift and budgets are stretched, some school districts are seeing an influx of eligible students, creating enrollment delays, errors and negative balances.

Go deeperArrowSep 18, 2019

Education Department scrutinizes universities for anti-Israel bias

Betsy DeVos. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Education Department told Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to restructure their joint Middle East studies program, claiming there was not enough “positive imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region," the New York Times reports.

The state of play: In a letter assistant Secretary for postsecondary education Robert King wrote that the Duke-UNC program "appears to lack balance," alleging that it failed to abide by the standards of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which grants college funding for international studies and foreign language programs.

Go deeperArrowSep 19, 2019

New York Times investigation finds massive spike in online child sex abuse

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There were 18.4 million reports of child pornography on the internet last year, which included 45 million images and videos of child sexual abuse, according to an investigation by the New York Times.

Why it matters: Despite tech companies', law enforcement agencies' and legislators' best efforts to prevent the spread of child pornography, the number of reports has exploded over the last 3 decades as technology makes abusive images more accessible and easier to spread.

Go deeperArrowSep 29, 2019