Mother, teen sue Metro Schools for $3 million for Title IX viola - WSMV News 4

Mother, teen sue Metro Schools for $3 million for Title IX violation

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A mother is fighting for her daughter's rights after she says a student pulled her child into a classroom and touched her while someone else recorded it and posted it online.

Metro Nashville Public Schools and Metro government are facing a $3 million Title IX lawsuit for not doing enough to investigate what happened. A spokesperson for Metro schools said Tuesday that the allegations are serious and appropriate protocols were followed. In the next couple of days, administrators will be served with the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, accuses the school district of not doing enough to prevent the sexual harassment and protect the 15-year-old girl.

The allegations stem from an incident at Hunters Lane High School in April 2017. The victim said a boy pulled her into a classroom and touched her sexually, and another student stood by and watched, recording the acts on a phone. The victim’s attorneys said it made the rounds at school and was posted online.

“She can't return to school, she's very damaged, and this video keeps showing up online and it's a problem,” said Mary Parker, the victim’s attorney.

Attorney Stephen Crofford also represents the victim and her mother. They said school administrators made no investigation into whether a violation of Title IX had occurred. The federal statute protects students against sexual harassment.

The attorneys want the district to follow federal rules before and after it happens.

“If they don't do it the court will continue to turn up the heat on them. This is not a discretionary obligation of the school system,” Crofford said.

The victim, her alleged harasser and the student who took the video were suspended for three days. Advocates with the Sexual Assault Center told News 4 that impacts the victim.

“If you are harassed and you get punished also, then that's going to make those people not want to stand up and speak up and report it. Because in that case they're also getting in trouble for something they had no control over,” said Kim Janecek, of the Sexual Assault Center.

The teen's attorneys said the district needs to do more to educate students and parents about Title IX in case they need help, and advocates agree.

“If students see something like that, they need to speak up. They need to be a good bystander,” Janecek said. “They need to be active and feel like they can say something.”

The victim is currently being home-schooled.

Metro police started a criminal investigation that was separate from the school, but attorneys don't know where that stands.

A Metro Schools spokesperson said the incident was reported immediately but cannot comment further due to pending litigation and student privacy.

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