According to a report by the News and Observer, a lawsuit has been filed alleging three first-grade students were repeatedly sexually abused by older students and school officials did next to nothing to stop it.
This is the opening section of the article at the News and Observer, but I urge parents to go and read the whole thing:
Three first-graders at a Chapel Hill elementary school were sexually abused on the playground, in the cafeteria and on the bus but school staff did little to help the boys and didn’t tell their guardians, therapists or police, according to a recent lawsuit.
“I was shocked and dismayed that so many people in an administrative position knew about the abuse and did little to respond. The lack of communication with caregivers and documentation is especially upsetting,” stated Talya Mazor, a former mental health clinician at Estes Hill Elementary, in an affidavit.
““Neither the victims of the abuse nor the perpetrators — children and likely victims of sexual abuse themselves — were given the opportunity to receive the appropriate treatment due to the way it was handled by school and district administration,” Mazor stated in the affidavit, a statement sworn and signed before a notary.
Mazor said concerns about students displaying signs of post-traumatic stress disorder led to one of the students disclosing to her that he and two other boys had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by older students, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of one of the students.
The three boys were sexually assaulted “in the cafeteria, bathrooms and hallways, at recess on the playground as well as on the bus,” Mazor said.
The lawsuit alleges that the abuse took place between 2009-201o at the Estes Hill Elementary in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district.
According to the report, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools officials “failed to take protective action or share information about the incidents with the students’ guardians, therapists or law enforcement.”
Defendants named in the suit include the district’s entire Board of Education, the boys’ teacher, the principal of the school and the school system’s coordinator of exceptional children services.
Mazor was hired in April 2012 to work with students in two “behavior education” classrooms that covered kindergarteners to second-graders and third to fifth-grade students. According to her affidavit, the students were mainly black boys from low-income homes.
Mazor said that one of the victims indicated that he and two other kids were the “primary victims of abuse,” in first grade. The attackers were two older students in the behavior educational classes.
According to her affidavit, one of the first-grade students said that the older students would touch the three first-graders penises and buttocks and forced them “to touch one another’s penises.”
Mazor said that the school and district knew, but nothing was done. The News and Observer reported that Mazor talked to the director of the school system’s human resources department and the student services coordinator and was told that “they knew about the incidents and that I did not need to investigate any further because it has been resolved before my time.”
The system administrators allegedly told Mazor that the parents were told in a letter and that the children had counseling sessions. The administrators also said that the Orange County Rape Crisis Center had been called, yet the center told Mazor they weren’t aware of any counseling services provided to the kids.
The Orange County Rape Crisis Center apparently did tell Mazor that they did a puppet show about sexual abuse for both of the classrooms. Monitors were also allegedly put on the school buses to prevent further abuse.