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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 20th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 24

Lawsuit alleges teaching assistant bullied special needs students at Lompoc Valley Middle School

By DAVID MINSKY

While students in the Lompoc Unified School District began a new year of school on Aug. 18, a recently filed lawsuit awaits school officials in Santa Barbara County Superior Court. 

Filed on Aug. 13, the lawsuit alleges that a student—identified as Jane Doe due to privacy reasons—at Lompoc Valley Middle School “engaged in bullying, assault, battery, and harassment” for several months toward fellow students at Lompoc Valley Middle School, including A.C., who’s listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that the student shoved special needs students to the ground; intimidating them into saying derogatory phrases; forced, intimidated, and coerced male special needs education students to enter female locker rooms; and took pictures and video recordings of her tormenting special education students and their private body parts. 

The student is also accused of referring to special needs students as her “slaves” and saying that she was being mean to the special education students “because they are retarded,” according to the lawsuit. 

The harassment allegedly occurred during the 2014-2015 school year, and officials became aware that multiple students were engaged in bullying toward special education students on campus and particularly during physical education class. 

On one occasion, according to the lawsuit, the defendant was left unsupervised and was acting as a teaching assistant in physical education class on April 24 when she began bullying a special needs student. 

“No teacher or administrator appropriately watched and oversaw the classes, and as a result A.C. was bullied, cyber bullied, harassed, and battered,” the lawsuit states. 

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to protect A.C. and other special needs students from bullying. The defendants include LUSD Superintendent Trevor McDonald, Assistant Superintendents Sheldon Smith and Sid Haro, as well as several teachers at LVMS. 

Calls by the Sun requesting comment from McDonald’s office were not returned before press time. 




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