School Board wins sex harassment lawsuit

This is the federal courthouse on Key West
This is the federal courthouse on Key West Keynoter

A federal judge has tossed out a sexual harassment case against the Monroe County School Board, agreeing with the magistrate judge’s recommendation that the claims of a second-grader groping a classmate don’t amount to a civil-rights violation.

“The court has reviewed the entire file and record and notes that no objections have been filed,” Judge Jose Martinez wrote in an order signed July 27.

The case, filed in May 2015, went nowhere in mediation and the plaintiffs, the girl’s parents, went through several lawyers before this year deciding to represent themselves at U.S. District Court in Key West.

Named only as Jane Doe No. 53, the girl and her family claimed she had been repeatedly groped and slapped by a classmate for several years, starting at Stanley Switlik Elementary School in Marathon. They also claimed the School District staff ignored the complaint and in some cases retaliated against the girl for complaining.

But the judge sided with the School Board’s version of events, which included separating the two children on the bus.

“The School Board was not deliberately indifferent” to the allegations, Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman wrote in a 23-page recommendation for summary judgment in favor of the board.

The girl’s family, unidentified on the public docket, claims that between second and fifth grade, 2011-2015, a boy named only as A.R. groped the girl’s breasts, buttocks and vagina over her clothes. At one point, the Sheriff’s Office issued a juvenile citation to A.R. and ordered him to stay away from her.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen