“11th Circuit Weighs School Response to Disabled Student Harassment Claim,” Courthouse News Service
June 29, 2018
Fighting to resurrect their sexual harassment lawsuit, a Florida couple claimed in an 11th Circuit appeal Friday that a teacher who made lewd advances on their disabled son was allowed to continue to work around him at his high school, leading him to drop out of classes.
Albert and Barbara Saphir’s attorney, Michael Dolce, argued that the Broward County School Board failed to keep its employee away from the boy after reports surfaced that she’d been inappropriately touching him at a school dance.
Dolce said the Saphirs’ son, a developmentally delayed student, recalled repeatedly encountering the school employee, then 52 years old, at Cypress Bay High School after the dance.
“[The son’s] testimony was that he saw her so frequently that he thought she was stalking him,” he said.
Dolce told the panel that the stress from the school dance incident, and from subsequent contact with the employee, caused the Saphirs’ son to suffer from worsening depression, which led him to contemplate suicide. Meanwhile, the attorney claimed that when dealing with the Saphirs’ son, school board staff “reinforced the message that [the employee] had done nothing wrong” and that he was being untruthful.