LOS ANGELES - A father is demanding that the Los Angeles Unified School District discipline a boy for allegedly sexually harassing his 11-year-old daughter.
"I feel the school has failed me and has failed my daughter," said Ivan Benitez.
Benitez is the father of a sixth-grader at John Muir Middle School in the Vermont-Slauson neighborhood of South Los Angeles.
The girl documented the alleged sexual harassment in her journal: "I would always try avoiding him; I would walk the other way if I saw him coming."
She also wrote, "Every time I left first period, he would smack my butt, and he would try to grab my boobs."
The preteen says it all started innocently at the beginning of the school year. She explained she didn't know anyone on campus, and the boy was friendly.
"We started talking, and we started dating. He wasn't touchy at first, but then he started to get more touchy where I would feel uncomfortable with him touching me," she said.
The girl said she started hiding from the boy, making him angry and aggressive. When her father found out, he immediately contacted school officials.
Benitez alleges the school told him the harassment described by his daughter does not meet the criteria for tier-one sexual harassment. Instead, he says they suggested moving his daughter to another school in the district.
Meanwhile, the LAUSD issued the following statement:
"At John Muir Middle School for Advanced Studies & Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Magnet, the safety and well-being of all students and staff remains our top priority. While we cannot disclose any information regarding student matters due to confidentiality, we want to reassure our families that we are committed to the safety of everyone in our school community."
"Schools have a No Tolerance Policy when it comes to any type of touching, especially touching of a sexual nature," said Neama Rahmani, President of West Coast Trial Lawyers.
Rahmani says as soon as a school learns of sexual harassment at school, they need to act on it immediately.
"Children that young can't consent to sexual contact. So even if they had some sort of relationship or even dating, that doesn't condone the behavior," Rahmani said.
"I think the biggest takeaway for parents here is communication," says Annalisa Enrile, USC's School of Social Work professor.
She says it's never too early to talk to your kids about relationships and boundaries.
"We really should be educating both our boys and our girls about how to be respectful, how to be communicative, how to ask for consent," Enrile adds.