N.Y.C. Board/Dept. of Education Dismissed from Suit for Sexual Abuse of High School Student by Paraprofessional Who Knew Him from Middle School

Case: S.C. (Anonymous) v. N.Y.C. Department of Education

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Date: 7/5/12

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens injury attorney)

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Facts: Heart breaking fact pattern. Tough decision here.

This middle school student, whose name is anonymous in this published court opinion, attended I.S. 59 in Queens.

He got to know a paraprofessional who taught sixth grade music. They would eat lunch together. In 2007, when he was in eighth grade, the child had an argument with his mother and ran away from home. The child was at the man=s house for several hours before he called the mother who insisted that her son be returned home. The paraprofessional brought him home.

Angry, the mother met with the school principal who forbid contact between the two, which happened anyway when the paraprofessional and student continued to have lunch. Even though the principal knew about this, he took no action.

The student attended summer school and graduated from eighth grade. The Court's opinion notes that nothing sexual occurred between the paraprofessional and student during the time the student went to I.S. 59.

This student again ran away from home after an argument with his mother, this time while a high school freshman. After a short stay with a friend he ended up living at the paraprofessional's home, where he stayed and was sexually abused for two months.

Son and mother sued the New York City Board of Education and Dept. of Education (as it's now known). They claim the school and principal didn't properly hire, train and supervise the paraprofessional.

The defense moved for summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit, showing it had no reason to know of the paraprofessional's tendency towards sexual misconduct with a minor. Nothing improper happened while the student attended I.S. 59.

Held: Case dismissed.

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