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County school board sued after sexual assault accusation


County school board sued after sexual assault accusation

By CLIFF HIGHTOWER

The parents of an Independence High School student have sued the Williamson County Board of Education after they said their daughter was sexually assaulted and the school system did nothing about it.

Attorneys for the parents, who are listed as John and Jane Doe, filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Carol Birdsong, spokesman for the school system, said Friday the school system has “not been served” papers as of yet and did not comment further.

According to the complaint, Independence High School administrators violated the school system’s anti-harassment policy and did not follow proper steps. The suit is asking for an undisclosed amount in damages.

The incident occurred in October 2016, the suit states. The daughter, named as Janie, was a 14-year-old freshman with a boy the suit names as “JJ.” According to the lawsuit, JJ asked Janie to go on a walk with him during an unsupervised portion of a rehearsal for a school play.

The suit states there were 75 students involved in the play, but only one teacher supervising.

The pair started walking around the school.

“When Janie and JJ approached the boys’ locker room, he grabbed Janie’s arm, dragged her into the boys’ locker room and sexually assaulted her,” the suit states.

Immediately following, Janie ran to the nearest girls’ restroom “stunned, confused and afraid” and texted two friends, the suit says. She stayed at one of the friend’s home until her mother arrived later.

The suit said Janie did not immediately report the assault to her mother or school officials because she was “embarrassed and afraid.”

In February, she finally reported the incident to her mother and school officials after being “emotionally triggered” during a theater class, the suit says.

JJ performed a social skit depicting the assault and used Janie’s name as the title, according to the lawsuit.

Janie ran from the class and told her teacher about the incident.

The lawsuit states the school opened an investigation into the incident, but after preliminary questions, the investigation stopped. It states that Janie never had a chance to submit her own evidence.

Court filings show a summons was issued for the Williamson County Board of Education Wednesday.

Cliff Hightower can be contacted at cliff.hightower@homepagemediagroup.com or follow him on Twitter @CliffHightower.

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