UC, school district named in $5M lawsuit

UC, school district named in $5M lawsuit

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
A $5 million lawsuit has been filed against the Union City School District and the City of Union City by parents who allege their child was sexually victimized at school.
The action against the school system and the city was filed late Tuesday in Obion County Circuit Court by the minor child and parents, who live in Union City.
They claim in their suit that school district and/or city employees failed to protect the child from attacks by other students while he was a student at Union City Middle School.
According to the lawsuit, the child entered sixth grade at the middle school in about August 2011 and the alleged sexual attacks began in late April and May 2012. It claims the child was “repeatedly sexually victimized by another student” in the middle school bathroom.
The suit claims the sexual attacks and victimization lasted a significant period of time and alleges middle school personnel failed to recognize or stop the victimization.
The action indicates that both the victim and the student perpetrator of the alleged attacks were special needs students.
In their suit, the plaintiffs contend the victim and other children should have been supervised in the school bathrooms and they claim teachers and employees failed to supervise the children adequately, thus allowing the repeated sexual assaults to occur.
The suit contends the school district and/or the city owed a duty to the minor child to protect him once he entered the school and failed to do so. The plaintiffs claim the negligence directly and proximately caused “great bodily injury and psychological injury” to the child.
They assert in the suit that the child, even with his limited and/or special needs as a student, attempted more than once to bring the alleged repeated acts of sexual victimization by a fellow student to the attention of school officials, but to no avail.
“Particularly, (the minor child) attempted to advise his principal and other school officials of the repeated sexual attacks he had received at the hands of a classmate and was on each such occasion rebuffed by the school administration,” according to the lawsuit.
In seeking judgment of $5 million or the maximum allowed by law, whichever is greater, the plaintiffs maintain they have suffered “great and grievous injuries, mental anguish, suffering and pain” and continue to suffer. They are also demanding a jury trial, if allowed by law.
The suit was filed on the plaintiffs’ behalf by attorney Dean P. Dedmon of Dyersburg.
Union City Mayor Terry Hailey received the city’s summons and a copy of the complaint Tuesday, and The Messenger has learned Union City school officials have also been notified of the action.
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Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 4.24.13

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