$10 million lawsuit filed against Cleveland schools, officials over middle school student's sexual assault

Staff Photo / Cleveland Middle School

A $10 million federal lawsuit filed in December against Cleveland City Schools claims a female student was repeatedly sexually assaulted by another student at Cleveland Middle School while school officials looked the other way.

The suit contends the student's parents had no idea anything had happened to their daughter until the Tennessee Department of Children's Services contacted them days afterward while school officials remained mum.

The suit seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. It calls the school system's actions in the incidents "deliberate indifference to extreme student-on-student sexual harassment, sexual assault and bullying," according to the suit filed by Monteagle, Tennessee, attorney Russell L. Leonard on Dec. 11 in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.

The plaintiffs in the suit are dubbed anonymously as "Jane Doe" and her parents "Janet Doe" and "John Doe," and the suit names as defendants the Cleveland City Schools Board of Education, Cleveland Middle School, its principal, vice principal, school resource officer, sixth-grade counselor, and the student's homeroom and math teachers.