Muncie, IN – The parents of a second-grade student are suing Burris Laboratory School, claiming that their 8-year-old son was victim to repeated sexual assaults from classmates … and that the teacher knew about it.
According to the lawsuit filed last week, the boy’s parents received a call from another school parent, informing them of “sexual abuse, molestation, and sexual harassment” at the school. After questioning school staff, the parents — identified as John and Jane Doe — learned about the extent of the abuse, which their child allegedly suffered for three months. At least 11 different instances were reported.
The lawsuit names four boys involved in the abuse and states their teacher as a defendant along with Ball State University, which oversees the school. The Ball State University Board of Trustees and the Burris Laboratory School are also defendants in the suit. Fox News reports that the students involved were “given free run of the restrooms and were unsupervised for long periods of time.” Case documents also state that “other students approached the teacher to tell her that certain boys ‘were doing things to other boys’ private parts.’ ” Instead of investigating, the teacher told the students to “stop ‘tattling’ on others.”
The lawsuit states that the Doe’s son was subjected to the “horrific sexual abuse” by fellow second-graders who “say they acted out scenes from pornographic videos they downloaded on school computers.” The abuse allegedly included inappropriate touching and the giving and receiving of forced oral sex with other second grade boys in “the restrooms, library and classrooms” at Burris Laboratory School.Daily Mail reports that one of the students named as a defendant was required to “go to the bathroom alone at this previous school owing to his ‘inappropriate bathroom behavior,’ and Burris school officials even knew this” yet still allowed the student free access to the bathroom with other students. The Doe’s attorneys accuse the school of ignoring the abuse and state that the Doe’s son has been “deprived of access to the education opportunities and benefit” of Burris and that the school has permitted “peer-to-peer sexual harassment to occur without consequence, thereby emboldening abusers and harassers to continue to engage in such conduct.”
Tony Proudfoot, spokesman for Ball State, says the school will “vigorously defend these unwarranted allegations,” reports BSU Daily News. Proudfoot adds that Ball State learned in December 2011 of the alleged inappropriate behavior and investigated. He adds that the lawsuit’s allegations “bear no resemblance to the evidence” in the case.
The lawsuit further claims that the parents and child all “suffered physical, emotional, and psychological harm” as a result of the abuse, and the school’s response to the allegations. The plaintiffs accused the teacher and school officials of “failing to protect students and investigate the claims,” citing gaps in supervision and lack of proper security measure to keep students safe.
Fox News reports that the parents are asking for a jury trial.
Readers: Do you think the school is at fault for inadequate supervision?