A woman who claims her teacher sexually abused her while she was a student says Miami-Dade County Public Schools needs to make changes to stop the sexual abuse of students.
“We are not really seeing change as far as who is protecting kids and what else they should be doing,” said a woman whose name NBC 6 is keeping confidential.
The woman’s message comes after a jury gave her $6 million dollars after it ruled the school system didn’t protect her, and as another Miami Dade teacher was just charged with sexually abusing a student.
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Brittiny Lopez-Murray was the drama teacher at Hialeah Middle School until Tuesday. That’s when she was captured by NBC 6’s camera when leaving the jail with a blanket over her head. Police say she was engaging in sex acts with a child.
Police say the student's parent saw racy text messages and images communicated between his son and the teacher. She’s the latest Miami-Dade teacher to face charges of having sex with a student.
The woman who claims former teacher Jason Meyers sexually abused her five years ago told us things need to change at the school district. The woman and her attorney claimed the school district had ample warning Meyers could be a danger but didn’t take action to protect her.
"You know the truth came out and we were rewarded for that and so it was a great, great feeling— great moment," she said.
The woman previously told us what she claims happened at Palmetto High when she was 17.
“It was in his classroom. It was behind his desk. You couldn’t see it if you just walked by," she said.
The jury ruled the school system was aware Meyers could be a danger and didn’t act to prevent the woman from being harmed.
“I feel a sense of validation that’s really hard to put into words,” she said over Zoom.
Meyers has denied he did anything wrong and officially entered a not guilty plea after his arrest in 2016. His attorney told us that at the federal court proceeding, no one was really interested in his side of it and he is waiting for his day in Miami-Dade Criminal Court for his name to be cleared.
The alleged victim says after five years of waiting, she wants a trial soon too.
On Wednesday, only a few days have passed since the huge verdict was delivered in the federal civil lawsuit, and the woman and her attorney Mark Schwartzreich are seeing another Miami-Dade teacher accused of sexual misconduct. They believe it shows a systemic problem.
“The school board has a lot of words and policies, but at the end of the day, if the people that are in school being with the children every single day in those positions of authority aren’t doing their jobs — aren’t taking allegations seriously — aren’t doing just basic things to ensure safety — you can have all the policies in the world but it’s not going to make a difference,” she said.
"The verdict speaks for the abject failure of the system to fulfill its number one duty of protecting the kids—period," Schweikert said. “It did everything it could to sweep the complaints under the rug. It protected Mr. Meyers by moving him from one school to another and that’s got to change.”
The school board told us it’s reviewing the federal verdict, and in a statement, said overall, “Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is saddened and disappointed over these serious allegations given that the District takes great measures to ensure our students are educated in safe learning environments. All employees receive training and are expected to abide by the District’s Standards of Ethical Conduct policy. It is unfortunate that despite our efforts, the actions of some individuals run contrary to the behavior that is expected of them. As a result of this arrest, M-DCPS will begin the process of terminating her employment and prevent her from seeking future work with this District.”
Wednesday, the school system told us they had the paperwork going to terminate Lopez-Murray and said she had a clean record till this point. She’s presumed innocent.