Court dismisses claim against teacher and principal over management of sexual assault
Karen Thomas sued her daughter's special ed teacher and an administrator, claiming they were guilty of gross negligence in how they managed an incident where the teacher entered her classroom to find the daughter and two boys engaged in sexual misbehavior. The 11-year olds were inconsistent in how they described the events, and the teacher did not immediately see any evidence of an assualt having occurred. She sought a witness before intervening and initially the school planned to treat the incident as one in which all of the children violated school rules.The parent claimed that during the thirty seconds while the teacher sought a witness, an actual assault occurred, however, there was no means of substantiating that claim and it was circumstantially denied by the teacher. The parent also claimed that by scheduling a discipline hearing for all three kids, the daughter was injured. The trial court dismissed both claims, finding no evidence of "gross" negligence, as required to sue a government employee with immunity.
The Court of Appeals agreed with this finding and also noted that since the parents announced the witdrawal of their daughter before the disciplinary hearing began, the daughter suffered no injury by reason of the hearing that was never held.