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A female student at Cleveland Middle School was sexually assaulted multiple times inside the school building according to a lawsuit filed in federal court last month. The parents of that student are now seeking $5 million in damages from the Cleveland City School District.
The lawsuit filed on December 11, 2020 says the student’s parents felt they were unable to protect their own child and that Cleveland City Schools also failed to protect her. It lists the Cleveland City School Board, the school principal, vice principal, school resource officer, the student’s homeroom teacher and math teacher as defendants. The school system is accused of turning a blind eye to the incident and the victim.
The suit, now pending in federal court, accuses Cleveland City School District of indifference to student-on-student sexual harassment, assault and bullying. Court documents state one of several sexual assaults between the victim and the same student happened on September 18 of 2019.
According to the complaint, the assault was reported to DCS by another student, but that the victim’s parents weren’t notified until a week later through a call from the department of children services—despite the student having written a statement about the incident to school officials.
A spokesperson with the Cleveland Police Department confirmed a police report was filed.
The complaint states that school officials issued a no-contact order, the accused-student was placed in an alternative school, given a court order to attend counseling and the victim began seeking treatment for PTSD.
But the lawsuit claims the victim was further traumatized when the student who assaulted her was placed in her class in October of 2020.
It’s unclear whether the accused-student faced any criminal charges. The lawsuit claims the school district failed to take appropriate preventative measures, respond, investigate and observe Title IX requirements.
Channel 3 reached out to attorneys for the victim but did not hear back. An attorney for the school system said he could not comment, but the school system did release the following statement:
“We were recently advised of a complaint that was filed against Cleveland City Schools in federal court. Although the local rules in federal court do not permit the School System to comment on active and pending legal matters at this time, we want to assure everyone in the community that we will do everything in our power to seriously investigate and respond to all of the claims and issues that have been raised by the Plaintiffs in this matter. The School System has retained Jonathan Taylor and his law firm of Taylor & Knight to lead this investigation and vigorously defend the Cleveland City Schools and all of its employees in this matter.”
Kaitlin Gebby reports: A home was saved thanks to the quick action of Bradley County Fire Rescue Friday afternoon after a log rolled from the fireplace, starting a house fire that threatened the 10 people who lived there.
According to Zechariah Payne, who was home at the time, a fire was started in the fireplace a little after noon. The family renting the home used the fireplace to heat the split-level house due to inadequate heat, Payne said, and nine of the 10 tenants were home at the time.
A screen was placed in front of the fire, but a log managed to tumble from the pile while the family was napping.
Payne said he awoke to black smoke about an hour later and saw flames climbing up the walls. He quickly alerted his family and all escaped without injury, including two infants.
Bradley County Fire Chief and EMS Director Shawn Fairbanks said the home’s structure was saved, though it’s unlivable in its current state. He said the landlord may be able to renovate the inside to make the space habitable again, concluding the home was not a total loss.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded $68.5 million to the State of Tennessee for COVID-19 vaccination costs.
The award provides expedited funding to reimburse 100 percent of costs related to Tennessee’s vaccination program for a 90-day period, according to FEMA.
In news today…
Just a year and a half after a ceremonial groundbreaking at the corner of Adkisson Drive and Norman Chapel Road on the campus of Cleveland State Community College, the new Health and Science Center is just weeks away from opening its doors.
The first courses will be taught in the college’s first new academic facility in more than forty years beginning March 15. Nursing, EMS/Paramedic, Medical Assisting, and Microbiology students will be the first to use the brand new space. The 53,000-square foot, two-story structure was constructed by BarberMcMurry Architects.
These classes are currently underway in other buildings on campus. However, the college will officially move the classes into the Health and Science Center mid-term, during Spring Break 2021. It will officially open for classes, and to the public, on March 15.