The parents of an eight year-old child have filed suit against the child’s school, alleging negligence and violations of their child’s statutory and constitutional rights. Doe v. Ball State University, et al, No. 18C01-1208-PL (Circuit Court No. 1, Delaware County, Ind., Sept. 28, 2012), removed to No. 1:12-cv-01464 (S.D. Ind., Oct. 10, 2012). The suit claims that the school negligently failed to supervise its students, allowing several of the child’s classmates to commit repeated acts of sexual abuse against him. The parents claim the school had knowledge of the abuse, but failed to intervene or notify them. The suit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The plaintiffs, identified in court papers as John and Jane Doe, enrolled their child, identified as Junior Doe, at Burris Laboratory School in Muncie, Indiana. Burris is a K-12 school operated by Ball State University. Junior Doe was eight years old and in the second grade at Burris in the fall semester of 2011. His parents received a telephone call from another student’s parent on December 5, 2011, informing them that Junior had been the victim of sexual abuse and harassment at the school.
The Does learned several days later, according to their complaint, that teachers and administrators at Burris knew of the abuse but did not inform them. At this time, the school told them about the extent of the abuse, which allegedly occurred in the restrooms, library, and one or more classrooms at the school. About four other second-grade boys allegedly touched Junior inappropriately in intimate areas and forced him to engage in other forms of sexual conduct. Students had largely unsupervised and unrestricted access to the restrooms, library, classrooms, and computer equipment. The Does allege that the students were imitating acts they saw in pornographic images and videos viewed on school computers and iPads. They claim that other students approached their teacher to report the abuse, but the teacher allegedly “told the students to sit down and stop ‘tattling'” on others. Complaint at 5.