After being ignored for over four years, one of the most shocking stories of abuse and neglect in a school has come to light.
A 14-year-old girl with special needs was brutally raped in the bathroom of Sparkman Middle School when teachers decided to use her as “bait” for a 16-year-old boy who had been harassing female students.
The boy, who also has special needs, had been caught “inappropriately touching” girls in the school before, and had been suspended for sexual harassment and threatening other students.
Despite repeated offenses and suspensions however, the school refused to do anything about the student, telling those who complained that he couldn’t be punished unless he was “caught in the act”.
When 14-year-old girl told a teacher that the boy has been harassing her for sex in the school toilet, the teacher told her to meet him there, and that a teacher would be hiding there to catch him.
The girl reluctantly went along with the plan, but when there were no teachers present, and she was attacked and raped.
The only punishment the boy received was a five day suspension from school.
While this horrific incident happened in 2010, it was made public today after a document from the girl's guardian and backed by the US Department of Justice was addressed to the United States Court of Appeals.
The document filed by the Justice Department stated:
“...a jury could easily conclude that the school acted with deliberate indifference when, despite two sexual misconduct complaints... it provided him unsupervised access to students and failed to protect (the victim).”
The school has refused to address the issue, and several staff involved in the incident have since been promoted. One woman helped organise the ‘bait’ plan is now the principal of a primary school.
The principal of the school commented: “It's a sad situation. At the same time, I feel very comfortable with the way the situation was handled. That's about all I can say.”