Huntsville, AL- A Department of Justice brief accuses an Alabama middle school of using a special needs student in a sexual harassment “sting,” and failing to protect the student who was later raped.
In January 2010, a teacher’s aide at Sparkman Middle School concocted a plan to catch a male student, who AL.com learned had record of sexual harassment and assault, in the act of harassing one of her female special needs student. The aide said they couldn’t do anything about the young man’s behavior unless he was caught in the act so she came up with a plan and informed the vice principle of the plan, who offered no advice or guidance.
According to AL.com, the plan was for the 14 year-old girl meet the boy, who was also a special needs student, in the bathroom and do nothing. Once inside, the aide would come to the girl’s rescue and catch the young man in the act. However, things went awry.
Firstly, the girl enlisted in the sting was in a bathroom not being watched by administrators of staff. When the boy followed her and no one came her rescue the young man sodomized her. The aide said she watched the bathroom where the “sting” was supposed to take place, but after waiting, she left.
Even though evidence showed the girl was raped, the boy was not criminally charged so her parents filed a lawsuit against the school’s administrators. An Alabama District Court dismissed the lawsuit and an appeal was filed. The DOJ, acting as “friend of the court,” wrote the District Court erred and the case should be heard in a different court.
“A school board cannot avoid summary judgment as a matter of law when a school administrator willfully ignores a plan to use a 14-year-old special needs student as bait to catch a student with a known history of sexual and violent misconduct, and as a result, the student is sodomized,” reads the federal brief filed by the DOJ, according to AL.com.
Sexual harassment on school campuses, from middle school to college has become a growing problem, and must be combated. The teacher’s aide involved in this case had the best of intentions, but her efforts failed and student was hurt as a result. When trying to prove sexual harassment in any setting, the victims shouldn’t put themselves in the position to be harassed; you never know when harassment is going to escalate to assault. Proving sexual harassment should be left up to the experts.
In the workplace, your best bet of proving harassment is to enlist a sexual harassment. Their focus in this area of law, gives them an advantage on different levels. For one, they know how to conduct an investigation, interview witnesses and uncover the evidence needed for strong civil suit. They also know how to use that evidence to build a convincing and successful case so their clients are fairly compensated for their distress.