A $3 million lawsuit has been filed against Metro Nashville Public Schools over the way the district handled alleged sexual misconduct between a teacher and a 14-year-old student.
This marks the fifth lawsuit filed in federal court against Metro Schools in recent weeks specifically dealing with Title IX issues.
The district systematically discouraged students from reporting incidents of student abuse to police and disciplined employees who did report allegations, according to the lawsuit.
The allegations focus on a series of incidents at Maplewood High School.
In the fall of 2015, a ninth-grade student was introduced to a female teacher by another female student, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims what followed was a series of inappropriate and illegal interactions that constitute sexual assault and harassment.
Since the district received federal funding, it is required to abide by Title IX requirements, which aim to prevent female students from getting excluded based on sexual harassment or violence.
The teen’s parents allegedly never knew about the requirements and were never put in touch with a Title IX coordinator at the school, the documents read.
The plaintiffs also accused the district of not taking enough preventative measures, such as checking what was going on behind locked classroom doors, where the student and the teacher were accused of spending time together.
The lawsuit stated the student and the teacher also interacted off school property.
Besides removing the teacher from the school, administrators are accused of doing nothing else to deal with the incident.
In fact, the lawsuit claims after discovering the alleged misconduct, then-principal Ron Woodard partially blamed the teenager and told her parents she was “not innocent,” even though she could not legally consent to such a relationship.
The district failed to protect the girl, who later suffered from bullying, depressing, weight loss and bad grades, the lawsuit alleged.
A spokeswoman for Metro Schools said the district could not comment on pending litigation.
“We have not been served yet and thus can’t comment on pending litigation,” wrote spokeswoman Michelle Michaud in an email. “However, MNPS does have policies and procedures to ensure the safety of our students.”
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