The Monroe County School Board is still trying to fend off a sexual harassment lawsuit that accuses staff of ignoring pleas for help from a second-grader who claims another student groped her repeatedly over years.
Filed in May 2017, the federal lawsuit is known in court records only as Jane Doe No. 53 vs. the School Board. Since then, both sides have taken 23 depositions and exchanged hundreds of pages of documents and met for mediation in April 2016.
That meeting ended without any resolution and the girl’s parents, who are now representing themselves after going through several attorneys, say they can’t afford another mediator session and would agree to dispense with the requirement to go through mediation, the School Board says.
“Any additional settlement discussions would be more productive outside of mediation and during informal conversations with the plaintiffs,” attorney Ryan Abrams wrote on behalf of the School Board.
A federal magistrate judge on June 27 granted the request to dispense with mediation.
The lawsuit accuses school employees, from the teachers and a bus driver to administrators, of failing to respond to a second-grade girl’s reports in 2011 of a boy in her class groping her at times on a daily basis at Stanley Switlik Elementary in Marathon.
Teachers at times punished the girl for complaining, the suit claims, as the sexual harassment went on for two years until the girl left for middle school.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen