Parents of two East Robertson Elementary School children filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Nashville Monday against Robertson County and the Robertson County Board of Education for failure to protect their children against sexual assault from other students.
The parents claim that their sons were the subjects of unwelcome sexual advances dating from 2011 to 2012. The first child told his mother that another child “touched his private area,” hugged him from behind and thrust his pelvic region on his backside, back and leg, according to a court document.
The other child, who was a first grader, reported that a second boy “humped” his leg or foot, and “repeatedly touched him” in his genital area, according to the lawsuit. He also reported that the alleged perpetrator would “force” the victim’s head “toward his genitals and make sexually suggestive noises.”
The Tennessean does not name either victims or minor perpetrators of alleged sexual abuse.
One victim became “hysterical and began crying and begging” his mother not to take him to school. The other victim became “increasingly distraught and fearful, again begging not to be forced to go to school,” according to the lawsuit.
According to a court document, one victim reported the incident to a teacher who separated the boys but did nothing more.
Another parent contacted the school officials and the school took no action; however, the lawsuit alleges that whenever the teacher left her classroom, she made the victim accompany her “for his safety.”
The same parent contacted the Board of Education, the sheriff’s department and the state Department of Children Services.
A detective of the sheriff’s department informed the mother that the East Robertson Elementary principal “refused to cooperate with the DCS,” according to a court document.
The family requested their child be placed on “homebound” but the Board refused and “threatened” the child with truancy. The Board offered to transfer the victim for the last three weeks of school, according to the lawsuit.
The other victim’s mother met with the principal and the teacher who promised to keep the victim and alleged perpetrator separated. They then met with the Dan Whitlow, Director of Schools for Robertson County, who was “dismissive,” did not ask of any information of the assaults, and described the assaults as “age-appropriate behavior,” according to a court document. He allegedly “stated explicitly that he could not protect [the victim] in any school and suggested moving the child to Robert Woodall Elementary.”
Attempts to reach Robertson County Board of Education officials and the Robertson County executive Monday were unsuccessful.
Amanda Gambill is with the Seigenthaler News Service — MTSU. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.