The parents of an eight year old special needs child have filed a lawsuit against the township of Voorhees’s school, in New Jersey. The parents allege that their eight year old girl was sexually harassed by a boy on the bus and at school. The suit was filed in federal court in Camden.
The lawsuit against the school states that the school district did not protect the child from the repeated occurrences, which occurred at Signal Hill School by an eleven year old student.
According to the lawsuit, the employees at the school showed deliberate indifference to the alleged harassment. The parent’s concerns, the lawsuit states, which they voiced to the teacher, received a response from the teacher indicating that the eight year old should wear a bra.
The harassment started in the spring of 2010 when the boy encouraged the girl to expose herself on the bus. The parent’s allege that the boy continued the harassment by asking to see “private parts and touching her butt.” The mother contacted the teacher and the teacher said that the boy was “such a nice boy” and stated that the girl’s statements could be a form of attention getting.
The harassment continued into the next school year. In another incident, the boy “touched breasts while asking to see them” and continued to do so on the bus ride home that day. The girl stated that because she was pressured, she pulled down her shirt to and showed him.
The lawsuit requests that adult monitors be placed on all school buses in the township, among other things. It would also require the school district to put in place methods to investigate the complaints of sexual harassment within the district.
The lawsuit alleges that the girl’s education suffered because she was continually monitoring where the student was. In response to the claims, the school moved the student to the back of the class, even though her individual education program requires her to be near the front of the class. The girl has auditory processing disorders.
The school district was unable to comment and has not responded to the lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks damages to cover medical and legal costs as well as funding for home instruction for the girl until an alternative school can be obtained, at the district’s expense.
If you are a California school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, feel free to call attorney Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 818-461-8500 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.