Eight Million Dollar Settlement - Abuse by Special Ed Teacher! Largest Settlement Ever!
Evans v. Antioch Unified School District, US District Court, California
"The Antioch School District announced [December 18, 2013] it will pay $8 million to the families of eight kindergarten special education students over a teacher child abuse case and the failure of administrators to report abuse suspicions to the proper authorities."
Parents of the victims alleged that the special education teacher slapped, pinched, and verbally abused her students and school administrators failed to report abuse suspicions to the authorities. Some of the students were nonverbal children with autism in a Kindergarten class. The parents sued the district and five current and former employees.
Read the Complaint filed in the U. S. District Court. http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/antioch.dist.ct.complaint.pdf
The Complaint is located in our "pleadings" page. http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/fed.court.complaints.htm
Warning Signs Ignored
Even though there were warning signs, "internal district documents suggest, Antioch district officials tried to keep the matter under wraps..."
"Documents show the Antioch district's own investigation of the concerns about teacher Theresa Allen-Caulboy ramped up only after this newspaper [Contra Costa Times] first reported on a similar abuse situation in Brentwood, where a convicted child abuser was allowed to continue teaching special needs students. A classroom aide to Allen-Caulboy cited the newspaper report as her impetus for reporting the abuse allegations."
"'It's the same story that happened in Brentwood,' said attorney Peter Alfert, who represents the three families suing the district. 'They cover up until they can't cover up any more.'"
Allegations against the teacher include:
using the back of her hand to hit a child in the mouth
Ms. Allen-Caulboy began teaching in August 2011 and school staff expressed the first concerns in September 2012. In December of 2012, a mother complains. In January 2013 other school staff and parents complain, a report is filed with Child Protective Services, the school begins an internal investigation, and the teacher was placed on leave.
"Ms. Allen-Caulboy is no longer a District employee, and has not been in a District classroom since January 18, 2013."
Detailed timeline is here.
School Asks Parent Not to Report
Not only did the school fail to report the allegations to the police or child protective services, they asked a parent not to call police when she called the school with her concerns in December 2012.
"Two weeks after her autistic son came home with bruises on his neck and face, allegedly at the hands of his teacher, a frustrated Michele Smith complained to Antioch's top two special education administrators."
"She says she received a stunning response: They asked her not to call police".
"'They just wanted to sweep it under the carpet,' Smith said in an interview."
Failure of Mandated Reporting by School
"All school employees who work with children are 'mandated reporters' with a legal duty to report any suspicions of abuse to police or Child Protective Services immediately by phone, and then through a written report within 36 hours."
"The district, Principal Michael Green, Teacher Allen-Caulboy, Special Education Director David Wax, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Keith Rogenski and Special Education Coordinator Kai Montgomery were all named in an April civil suit that alleges Allen-Caulboy slapped, pinched and verbally abused three autistic students, and school officials failed to quickly report the accusations to police as the law requires."
Former principal of Antioch's Mno Grant Elementary was reassigned to a teaching position.
Ongoing Investigation of Other School Staff - Failure to Report!
"Allen-Caulboy resigned from her teaching post in February…" and "pleads not guilty to physically abusing young students."
"There is an ongoing investigation into reports that school district employees witnessed some of the abuse and failed to contact police as mandated by law."
"Prosecutors would not say whether there are charges pending against any school district employees who allegedly witnessed or received complaints from parents but did not go to police as mandated by law, before parents sparked the police investigation in January."
"All aspects of this case are still being investigated," said senior Deputy District Attorney Nancy Georgiou."
Note: On January 3, 2014, Pete Wright called Senior Deputy District Attorney Nancy Georgiou hoping to learn if her investigation has been completed in terms of charges against other school district staff for failure to report the child abuse. She was not available so a message was left on her voicemail. Then Pete sent her an email. Nothing heard at the time this article was posted to Wrightslaw.