Miami-Dade School Board Facing Lawsuit Alleging Student-On-Student Sexual Assault

Lawsuit claims 12-year-old student sexually abused 9-year-old on school grounds

By Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013  |  Updated 2:42 PM EDT
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The mother of a boy who was allegedly sexually abused by another student at their elementary school has filed a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade School Board, her attorney said Wednesday.

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The mother of a boy who was allegedly sexually abused by another student at their elementary school has filed a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade School Board, her attorney said Wednesday.

The suit, filed Tuesday by attorney Jeff Herman in Miami-Dade, claims a 12-year-old student, identified as Child Y, repeatedly sexually harassed the 9-year-old victim, identified as John Doe, during the 2012 school year while both were enrolled in the Emotional Behavior Disability Program at Benjamin Franklin K-8 Center.

"The district has not yet been served with the lawsuit and we do not comment on pending litigation," School Board spokesman John Schuster told NBC 6 South Florida Wednesday.

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According to the suit, the harassment began while the two were playing soccer at the school, when the older child repeatedly grabbed the younger child's buttocks while they were playing.

After that incident, Child Y continued to harass John Doe while in class or on school premises, the lawsuit said.

"Child Y also began referring to John Doe as his 'girlfriend' in the school cafeteria in front of other students and school personnel," the lawsuit said.

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John Doe complained to his teacher and the assistant principal, and the school's principal also became aware of the harassment, the lawsuit alleged. No actions were taken by the assistant principal or principal, the suit claims.

"I was told the kids in the program would be under constant supervision, and that made me feel safe,"  said the student's mother anonymously in a statement. "Now, I feel like the school system has failed me."

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The mother added that her son stopped wanting to go to school because of the harrassment.

"He went to his teachers for protection, but when they continued to do nothing, he felt like nobody cared," she said.

The lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $15,000, claims the school board "had inadequate policies, procedures and training regarding the supervision of students and prevention of student-on-student sexual assaults."

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