Scheduling conference set in Eberwhite Elementary School lawsuit
Ann Arbor Public Schools responded to allegations made in a lawsuit claiming a former Eberwhite Elementary School pupil was sexually assaulted by her peer, while the district failed to protect her.
Chris Asadian | AnnArborcom
In its answer, AAPS neither admitted nor denied the majority of the allegations, citing it does not have sufficient information or knowledge to form a belief on the claims.
According to court documents, Gillooly is calling for a no-cause judgment or for the case to be dismissed. The district has argued the case lacks standing and that there are no facts to support the allegations of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in February by plaintiff’s attorney Nicholas Roumel, alleges an 8-year-old girl was sexually assaulted twice in the bathroom of her special education classroom by another student, once in October 2010 and again in March 2011.
The district denied claims made by the mother and her attorney that Eberwhite and AAPS staff failed to respond to the plaintiff’s complaints about continuous bullying, court documents show.
AAPS also denied mishandling the alleged incidents and allegations that interim principal Judy Copes urged the girl’s mother not to call the police.
The district’s answer further denied that the alleged bullying incidents listed in the lawsuit occurred and stated it could neither confirm nor deny the alleged sexual assaults.
The girl’s family is seeking $75,000 in costs and attorney fees, as well as other relief. The lawsuit claims the harassment the child endured (the sexual assaults, constant bullying, name calling and sexual discrimination) were “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” that it deprived the child access to educational opportunities provided by AAPS.
The lawsuit said the girl has suffered from emotional distress, public humiliation, mental anguish, anxiety, depression and physical manifestations, including a fear of going to the bathroom by herself and of sleeping on her own.
In its answer to the claims, AAPS further denied discriminating against the girl and creating or fostering an adverse school environment for her, court documents said.
A scheduling conference has been set for 2:15 p.m. April 30 at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette Boulevard, in Detroit. The scheduling conference will establish the procedural deadlines for the case, including the period of discovery; time for depositions, document exchange and pretrial motions; as well as eventual trial dates.
Roumel told AnnArbor.com Wednesday he and Gillooly are optimistic about the possibilities of resolving the case out of court. He said everything is on the table at this point.
Gillooly could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Ann Arbor Public Schools’ answer was supposed to be filed in district court by March 14. However, Roumel said Gillooly was summoned for jury duty, so he granted the attorney an extension, noting it is rare for an attorney to actually be placed on a jury.