October 8, 2014
(TheAntiMedia) The reported story is tragic enough. A 14 year-old special needs girl from Sparkman Middle School is propositioned by an older male student with a history of inappropriate sexual behavior. The girl does exactly what a girl should do when approached: tell a trusted adult. The teacher’s aide she informed had been told by school administrators that the boy could only be punished if he was caught in the act. The teacher asked the student to meet him so school administrators could arrange a sting operation. The teacher informed school officials of the plan, but they were busy with personal phone calls. When the girl entered the bathroom with the boy, there were no teachers hiding in stalls. When he pulled her pants down, nobody came to help. No trusted adult was there to prevent her from being anally raped.
It would seem impossible for the story to get worse, but court documents prove that things are much worse. From an attempted cover up to victim blaming the documents demonstrate a blatant disregard for safety of the students. An Alabama court predictably threw out the lawsuit filed against one of its own agencies by the victim’s parents. The feds stepped in, and gave the family a chance at justice.
The boy was known to have sexual misconduct issues long before the rape. In fact, he was already being punished for having consensual sex with another girl the week before… in a bathroom.
June Simpson, the Physical Education teacher’s aide who the girl first reported the boy’s proposal to said in an affidavit:
“Prior to January 22, 2010, there had been ongoing allegations that a male student, (the boy), had been repeatedly propositioning other female students to have sex in the boy’s bathroom. The allegations started sometime after the Thanksgiving break in 2009, and I was made aware of it after the Christmas break.”
In the same affidavit she said,
“Shortly after we returned to school from Christmas break, I reported the allegations to the principal Mr. Ronnie Blair, and suggested that (the boy) be monitored at all times. Mr. Blair advised me that we were going to have to catch (the boy) in the act before he could take any disciplinary action against (the boy).”
In a deposition, principal Ronnie Blair responded to the accusation with a typically dismissive attitude.
“I don’t recall saying that. I may have said that, but it wouldn’t be a matter of her not being able to do anything. It would be about us not being able to do anything. She can’t do anything anyway.”
To be clear, the school board can’t do anything about a boy that is sexually harassing girls and asking them to have sex in a school bathroom while he is at school. This is the same state where an elementary school boy brings a toy gun to school, cops are immediately dispatched, and the child is arrested; but sexual harassment doesn’t even warrant a conversation.
An assistant principal, Teresa Terrell, recounted multiple sexual incidents from plain old-fashioned sexual harassment to inappropriate touching involving this male student. His disciplinary record is topped off with an incident where he reportedly attempted to hire one girl to beat another girl up. Even though the school “can’t do anything,” according to Ronnie Blair, the school investigated the incidents “thoroughly.”
Principal Blair had investigation notes. Of course, those aren’t available. The notes found their way into a shredder. The principal conducted his Oliver North style shredding party after he determined “nothing was found to be of any value as far as truth is concerned” in his own notes.
The shredded documents are just the first piece of the puzzle. The teacher’s aide didn’t launch this plan on her own. She sought guidance from school administrators with the future victim in tow, one of whom she says was assistant principal Dunaway.
“After Ms. Dunaway ended her telephone call I discussed the situation with her directly, and told her that I had suggested to (the girl) that she meet (the boy) in the restroom so he could be caught in the act. I told them “I hope this is legal I don’t know what I’m doing.” Ms. Dunaway appeared disinterested … Ms. Dunaway showed me some pictures of some tile on the cell phone.”
Dunaway denies this conversation ever took place. If somebody had taken notes of the conversation they would have been shredded. So it’s a case of she said/she said, except for the very notable fact that Dunaway admits that the teacher’s aide did come into her office. Of course, Dunaway couldn’t really deny this because the school has surveillance cameras. When asked during her deposition if the teacher’s aide had spoken to her Dunaway said
“Not that I recall.”
The victim confirmed that the teacher’s aide brought her to the principal’s office and told a principal about the plan. The victim logically has no reason to lie to attempt to help the woman who put her into harm’s way. This is the first of many memory lapses by school administration officials, but the reader needs to note the admission that the teacher’s aide came to the office. It’s important later.
Another teacher, who backed up Dunaway’s claim of the teacher’s aide mysteriously entering her office to say nothing, was reportedly asked by the teacher’s aide to check the bathroom where the incident was taking place. The teacher reportedly said:
“I don’t want to be the one to catch another student with their clothes off.”
It’s interesting to note the response; why would she say this if the teacher’s aide hadn’t informed the assistant principal of the plan in this woman’s presence? By all accounts she did not check the bathroom. The teacher’s aide asked another teacher to intervene. Two teachers that weren’t on personal phone calls and weren’t more worried about seeing a student naked than they were about a child getting sodomized checked the bathroom and stopped the attack.
The assistant principal Terrell was the first administrator to arrive. Unaware of the situation, Terrell’s first response was to tell the victim she was going to be suspended. The statements from administrators after they were made aware of the situation aren’t much better.
From assistant principal Dunaway’s deposition:
Q. Do you believe she is somehow responsible for the injuries she sustained on that day?
A. I believe she took responsibility for herself when she went into that bathroom.
From principal Blair’s deposition:
Q. Any changes in the way you investigate a sexual harassment complaint?
A. Based on the way that one unfolded, I — we did as good a job I think as you could do under the circumstances and no, I can’t think of anything we’ve changed.
The administration has effectively closed ranks and attempted to pin this on a teacher’s aide. The reader is presented with two options:
Either a teacher’s aide hatched a plan on her own to somehow catch the student in the act, walked to the office with the student, didn’t tell anybody, then tracked down teachers willing to intervene, or the administration that shredded documents, doesn’t remember anything, and has not changed the way it handles sexual harassment in the four years since the incident is simply allowing a new employee to take the rap while the administrators protect their pensions.
Staff was aware of the fact the encounter was going to place, records were destroyed, the administration believes they can’t do anything about sexual harassment, a and child was sodomized after following the instructions of someone she trusted. The principal believes “we did as good a job I think as you could do.”
Since the incident, all of the administrators were promoted or at the very least allowed to keep their jobs. The people who forgot about a rape, destroyed notes, and allowed a sting operation to occur on their campus are now in charge of more children.
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