The School District Was Not Liable for Sexual Abuse by Teacher

A federal court ruled that Grapeland Independent School District was not liable under Title IX for a teacher’s sexual abuse of a student. The teacher abused the student beginning in the fifth grade. While staff members observed the teacher showing favoritism to the student, none suspected a sexual relationship, and no allegations were raised by the family or student.

According to the trial court, the evidence did not support a finding that an official with authority to address the alleged discrimination and institute corrective measures had actual knowledge that the teacher was sexually abusing the child, or that there was a substantial risk that she would sexually abuse him. Because actual knowledge was a necessary element of the Title IX claim, the school district was entitled to pretrial judgment in its favor.

The case was decided February 6, 2023 and is Reagans v. Grapeland Indep. Sch. Dist., Civil Action 9:21-CV-00267 (E.D. Tex. Feb. 6, 2023).

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