Asst. Principal Promoted After Special Needs Student Used as Rape "Bait"
In 2010, a teacher's aide and the assistant principal at Sparkman Middle School in Huntsville, Alabama carried out a plan to use a special needs student—a 14-year-old girl—as "bait" to catch another special needs student who was sexually violent. The plan failed, and the 14-year-old girl was raped in the school's bathroom. Earlier this year, that assistant principal got promoted.
The Huntsville Times reports that despite being accused by the Justice Department of "deliberate indifference," all of the administrators who oversaw the rape bait plot have kept their jobs, and the assistant principal, Jeanne Dunaway, got promoted to principal at another school in the district. The teacher's aide, June Simpson, was placed on leave and later resigned.
The case against the administrators, filed by the victim's father, got thrown out by the Northern District of Alabama District Court, but the Justice Department has now filed a brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stating that was the wrong decision.
Here's how the plot went down, according to the Justice Department brief:
Simpson and [the girl] ... went to Vice-Principal Dunaway's office, where Simpson told Dunaway about her plan to use [the girl] as bait to catch [the boy]. Dunaway did not respond with any advice or directive.
[The girl] left Dunaway's office, found [the boy] in the hallway, and agreed to meet him for sex. [The boy] told [the girl] to go to the sixth grade boys' bathroom and she complied. No teachers were in the bathroom to intervene, and [the boy] sodomized [the girl].
The boy was 16 years old at the time. Simpson and Dunaway apparently thought this plan was okay, because the principal, Ronnie Blair, told Simpson the boy needed to be "caught in the act" to be disciplined. Blair ran unsuccessfully for superintendent this year.
For her part, Dunaway testified that the girl "was responsible for herself once she entered the bathroom."
The 11th Circuit will now determine if the case should go forward. The school board wouldn't comment on the details of the case other than to say its attorneys are confident the court "will rule in favor of the board and the administrators."
[Photo via WAFF]