A former Gwinnett County Public Schools student has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district alleging a civil rights violation over a sexual assault complaint.
The lawsuit filed Friday, Nov. 16 claims that Gwinnett County Schools officials punished and retaliated against the plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, for reporting that a fellow student had assaulted her at Peachtree Ridge High School on Feb. 4, 2015, shortly after school ended for the day. She was 16 at the time of the alleged incident.
The next morning Doe, a sophomore at the time, reported to school administrators that a student identified as “MP” had forced her to perform a sexual act on him. According to the lawsuit, the school police officer asked Doe what she did to provoke the attack, what was she wearing, why she didn’t do more to resist and why she didn’t report the incident sooner.
The suit also alleges that school officials insisted that she repeatedly recount the experience and physically re-enact the alleged attack in the same room where she said it took place.
Doe claims she was suspended for sexual misconduct, then suspended a second time for reporting the alleged sexual assault. Reporting sexual violence is a protected activity under Title IX, the part of federal law that forbids sex discrimination in public schools.
A spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Schools said it hadn’t received the lawsuit and wasn’t able to comment on it.
Once back at school, Doe says she was the victim of bullying and harassment. She also claims the school took no “meaningful” action to stop the torrent of hostility toward her. Subsequently, the Doe family removed her from the school and enrolled her in online classes.
Based on the school district’s sanction against Doe, her driver’s license was suspended until February 2016, the suit says.
The lawsuit seeks compensation for:
- Physical and psychological pain, suffering and impairment;
- Medical bills and expenses for counseling and other psychological care;
- A marred educational and disciplinary record and impaired education capacity and future earning capacity;
- Attorney's fees and costs.