Special ed student raped by classmate, forced by school to apologize to him, then raped again, lawsuit claims (UPDATED)

The Republic School District of southwestern Missouri expelled a 7th-grade special education student because they didn't believe her when she told adults at her school that a classmate raped her. School officials forced her to apologize to him, then kicked her out of school for lying. She was allowed back to school the following year, and the same boy raped her again in the school library, according to a lawsuit filed on her behalf.

From the Springfield News-Leader, the local newspaper that broke the story today:

The suit, filed July 5, alleges when the girl -- a special education student -- told officials about the harassment, assault and rape that occurred during the 2008-09 school year, they told her they did not believe her. She recanted. The suit also alleges that, without seeking her mother's permission, school officials forced the girl to write a letter of apology to the boy and personally deliver it to him. She was then expelled for the rest of the 2008-2009 school year and referred to juvenile authorities for filing a false report.

"School Officials, although mandatory reporters under Missouri's Child Abuse Reporting Law, failed to report [the girl's] complaints to the Division of Family Services or to Greene County Juvenile Authorities," the suit says.

In 2009-10, the girl was allowed back in school, and the boy continued to harass and assault her, the suit says. She did not tell school officials because she was afraid she would be accused of lying and kicked out of school. In February 2010, the boy allegedly forcibly raped the girl again, this time in the back of the school library.

School officials didn't believe her that time, either. Her mom took her to The Child Advocacy Center, and a physical examination showed that a sexual assault had occurred. The lawsuit says DNA from that test proves that the boy she claimed was her rapist was indeed her rapist.

Here's the kicker. The school district then suspended the girl again. And the district's response to the lawsuit says the officials named are not responsible for damages, because "the girl failed and neglected to use reasonable means to protect herself."

News coverage: Springfield News-Leader, CBS News, Mother Jones.

(via @lizditz, @the_hip_hapa)

Update: Thanks to all who pointed out that this appears to be the very same Missouri school district that recently banned Slaughterhouse-Five. Also, this new ABC News item adds more context about the child's initial recanting of her first rape report:

"She finally told school officials what they wanted to hear because they wouldn't believe her," the lawsuit says.

The school allegedly took no steps to investigative the claims. A psychological report in the girl's school file states that she "would forego her own needs and wishes to satisfy the requests of others around so that she can be accepted." She returned to school [the year after the first reported rape,] and despite requests from her mother to the school, extra security was not provided.

Update, 6pm PT: Following is a copy of a statement (PDF here) from Republic School District superintendent Vern Minor, issued today in response to the Springfield News-Leader story:


The Republic R-III School District has received questions regarding a lawsuit that was filed against the district in June of 2011. The district cannot discuss confidential student matters and does not comment on pending litigation. However, the district can provide general information regarding its policies and procedures as it relates to student situations.

The district has policies that strictly prohibit and provide specific consequences for the misconduct that is described in the lawsuit. It also provides training for the entire school population about the requirements of the policies and how to prevent, and properly respond to complaints of, misconduct. The district responds immediately to reports of student misconduct and reports abuse or neglect to law enforcement officials, the Children’s Division, and any other appropriate agency. It also works cooperatively with law enforcement, social services agencies, and other appropriate agencies to investigate and make correct decisions regarding every report of misconduct. Additionally, the district provides consequences for students who engage in misconduct. It also provides additional consequences as permitted by law if criminal or juvenile charges are filed.

Finally, with respect to the specific lawsuit, it is important to remember that the allegations in a lawsuit are just that – allegations. The district has filed an answer denying the allegations. The parties will exchange information and conduct discovery regarding the allegations as required by federal procedure. It is during that process that the school district will be able to provide complete and accurate information in response to the specific allegations. However, out of respect for the privacy of students and families, that response will not occur in the media.

In the meantime, we want the Republic School Community – students, staff, parents, and patrons – to know that our schools are safe. Nothing is more important than the welfare of our students. We will continue to do everything required by law, policy, and good common sense to prevent misconduct and to respond appropriately and immediately to misconduct if it occurs. We look forward to the 2011-2012 school year and are confident that together we can create an excellent educational experience for all of our children.

Start the discussion at bbs.boingboing.net


  1. Oh, please, please let those responsible do some time and be forever barred from teaching school at any level ever again.

  2. Superintendent Vern Minor, middle school Principal Patricia
    Mithelavage, counselor Joni Ragain, and school resource officer Robert
    Duncan all need to lose their jobs and face criminal charges. This case makes my head hurt.

  3. Didn’t think I could feel worse til I read this:
    “The girl failed and neglected to use reasonable means to protect her
    self, the response says. Any damages the girl may have sustained, “were
    as a result of the negligence, carelessness, or conduct of third
    parties over whom the District Defendants had neither control nor the
    right to control,” according to the school district response.”
    I want hangings. Then the school must be torched and the ground laced with salt. But even that’s not good enough.

    1. Decry duplicitous denial. Disenfranchise dunce demagogues.

      srsly tho fire and salt overboard – remove from power/authority, add humiliation/ridicule.

  4. Here’s my prediction: Out of court settlement, no one does any serious crime and a token rewriting of school policy. No one fired. No admission of guilt. Minor public outrage for two news cycles.

  5. Incidentally, this is the same school district that banned Slaughterhouse Five, mentioned in a post a couple weeks back.

    Some real competent administrators they’ve got heading that place up.

  6. Surely it’s a crime, as in actual criminal charges, not to act as a mandatory reporter when required. That problem likely flows straight up the chain of command. The only defense any of them will have is to convince a prosecutor, judge, and/or jury that the person below them did not say anything. 

    Better hope nobody saved emails, Supernintendo Minor.

    1. If I remember correctly, in Illinois the first time a mandatory reporter doesn’t it’s a misdemeanor, the second a felony.

      Obviously doesn’t apply to this case (this being Missouri) but the law there is probably similar.

    1. … rape culture…

      Doesn’t calling it ‘cultural’ diffuse and diminish what happened here? There’s very specific people here who failed in their moral (certainly) and legal (likely) duties. They should be called out specifically. This is pretty sick stuff.

      1. No, it doesn’t diffuse and diminish what happened in the slightest. It’s not like victim blaming is new or rare. In fact it’s utterly predictable and so widely practiced that most people who suffer rape don’t bother to report it because crap like this *always* happens. And I think that needs to be pointed out as a systemic fault in a culture that *claims* to be compassionate, fair, and just.
        How many times do you see a story where someone reports a rape and they’re believed, validated, treated with compassion, and the cops/prosecutors are working their butts off to get this criminal justly punished for committing a heinous crime?

      2. It’s actually the opposite. By only focusing on the specific individuals, it keeps us at a comfortable distance from it, by saying, “rape is something that sick and demented individuals do”. But by recognizing that the culture at large is complicit in the allowing, excusing, and normalizing of rape and sexual assault, it holds us all to be personal accountable to combat it.

    1. I’m curious about the adults-in-her-life (presumably parental units) that put her back into the same school a year later…WTF?

      1. Probably because she initially recanted.  Though, had the school done due diligence and made the proper notifications (recantation or not), the rest would not have happened. 

      2. How many parents who put their children in the public school system have the experience to understand how to deal with systemic incompetence.

        Remember, the school administration has far more experience dodging bullets than most parents have dealing with what may be their first (and possibly only) interaction with the public school system.

        1. You remark: “How many parents who put their children in the public school system have the experience to understand how to deal with systemic incompetence.” Well, from my experience (personal involvement with pub schools and that of friends) not many; but all “went to school” on the subject after the first occurence, to make sure there wasn’t a repeat. And as parents of a special needs kid, I doubt this was her folks’ “first…interaction” with the district. (Let’s not forget that the victim served a year-long suspension with juvie referral for “filing a false report” — no one’s radar got twigged by any of this?)

          To Anitonous’ comment that, “In some districts you have to send your child to whatever school corresponds to your address.” Well sure, some suit will tell you that’s the statute (if that’s even the case in this district or in Greene county), but I don’t know anyone with a special needs kid who would simply roll over for it after the earlier events. (And especially in Missouri…I’ve known fat cats in townhouses and hoi-pooloi in the projects — I married one — and all of them took that whole “Show Me” nickname pretty seriously; frankly I’m amazed the story isn’t about some adult being arrested for trying to put things right through extra-legal channels ;-)

          I did drug crisis- and suicide- counseling for a state agency in the
          ’70s, and went up against some very small-minded, entrenched PTB in small town society and hospitals…it’s not like I’m naive or easily
          shocked. And I’m not trying to judge against the parents; I’m just gut-punched and confounded by what seems like a massive whole-culture fail in this town, from top to bottom. No other staffer in her school, no one in the juvie system. no one at home, no one at a church, no co-worker, no relative, no nobody apparently thought that things were unordnung. Granted, a few news blurbs and court filings paint a sketchy picture at best, but damn….If there was *no one* fighting for this girl before now, that’s just deeply heartbreaking.

          Edit: Xeni’s update indicates that mom tried to take action before re-enrolling; that’s some comfort. It’s almost a corollary of institutions that they’ll run amok at times. I was dismayed by the seeming lack of other human souls working on the victim’s behalf.

          1.  Well, from my experience (personal involvement with pub schools and that of friends) not many; but all “went to school” on the subject after the first occurence, to make sure there wasn’t a repeat. And as parents of a special needs kid, I doubt this was her folks’ “first…interaction” with the district. (Let’s not forget that the victim served a year-long suspension with juvie referral for “filing a false report”—no one’s radar got twigged by any of this?)

            Baloney. I have personally dealt with abuse at the hands of teachers and within my family and the dysfunction known as the NYC public school system.  And while I have a better grasp as to when to act, how to act and how to (this is very, very important) document incidents, I still have no clear idea how to clearly & succinctly hold caregivers in a public system truly accountable in a way that does not amount to a Pyrrhic victory.

            What I have learned though is the Internet is an amazingly powerful tool to truly “out” and air this kind of garbage.  Not as a first move, but only when things get out of hand there is no other choice.

            Heck, just look at this case. If this happened 30 years ago what would have happened?  A local investigation? Maybe a small article in a local newspaper. And then what else?

            But please don’t pretend that an active systemic shunning of a victim is something a caregiver can easily overcome. Bet you anything the department of education in this case simply looked at what grade and what age the victim is, calculated how long it would take to delay action until it got out of their hair and then went in with their day. That is what a corrupt system is and that is why this is a nightmare.

            Hopefully now some justice will be served.

      3. It’s not like there’s a plethora of options for special needs students. In some districts you have to send your child to whatever school corresponds to your address.

        1. I gratuated in 2000, 5 minutes from here in the Billings R-IV school district.  Republic is a catch all, covering a very large, mostly rural area.  There is also a half-way house / recovery home for (often violent) juvenile offenders that operated in that district.  That could be unrelated but I wouldn’t write it off.

          That said, while the schools themselves were rather limited on resources, Billings special education programs were fairly well staffed and the actual class sizes for the special education program was about 6 students to one teacher.  I did not see them attempt to mainstream them and let them work at their own pace.

      4. I’m curious about the adults-in-her-life (presumably parental units) that put her back into the same school a year later…WTF?

        You say that like they had a choice, or the parents were informed of the first rape. If the school’s rape-accessory administrators gave her reason to believe they would persecute her as a liar if she told anyone what happened to her, she may have been reluctant to tell her parents.

        1. When you have a special needs child, your educational options may well be limited. Private schools often don’t have resources for special needs, and ones that do or are designed for SN students can be terribly expensive. Even most charter and magnet schools fail to have the proper resources. This school may have been her only access to speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc, if she needed those things.

      5. Most likely because the school district rules determine that if you live HERE you go to school THERE, no ifs, no buts. And if you can’t afford private school, what other option do you have?

        Victims of bullying are stuck like this all the time. It’s not so much terrible parenting, more a case of terrible arbitrary rules applied by office bound beauracrats who have little knowledge of or regard for the realities of life.

        And it ain’t just the education system that suffers from this fault.

          1. Economic engine?  Is this something like all people are good and noble except under capitalism?  Hate to burst your bubble…

      6. Sadly in rural areas there often is no choice but to put your kid back in the same school if you can’t afford private school tuition because there’s only one public school for the geographical area.

        1. Public schools will likely be going away soon. Twenty years from now the public institution of learning will be owned and run by a multi-national (subsidized)….Good or bad, corruption will still exist. 

      7. Sadly, they probably don’t have many options.  It’s a public school, zoning is next to god, and if they had the money for private school they wouldn’t be in the public school system in the first place.

        Plus, even after bad things have occurred people (pretty much all people as a general human tendency, although not specific people at specific times) have this tendency to think: “Such a thing couldn’t happen [again]. Surely, surely, it won’t happen [again].”  Yeah, it’s stupid. Surely, you can’t be surprised to learn it’s not uncommon for people to behave stupidly? Right?

        And, so, this is going to sound a little, I dunno, melodramatic.  But every word is the literal truth, I believe.

        It’s the same reason people get outraged on behalf of the alleged attacker when they hear stories like this.  Denial.  Disbelief.  We’d much rather believe in the petty kind of bad conduct, like someone bearing false witness, than the true evil (no other name for it) that would lead to a 12 year old girl being raped–bad enough–compounded by an entire alleged “support network” of people who are supposed to protect her willfully failing to do so.

        I’m not surprised at all, though.  I was physically and emotionally abused by my father for 12 years.  In High School I reported it to a guidance counselor.  We had mandatory reporting, too.  She said, “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that, because someday you’ll regret saying it.”  (Strangely, I never did.  I just wish I knew what the hell could have been going through her mind.)

        That kind of thing is really, really bad for a psyche already subjected to trauma.  It’s harder than anything to reach out for help, and when you’re rejected it confirms every doubt, every fear, every feeling of helplessness, every feeling of worthlessness.

        I’m a big supporter of innocent until proven guilty.  Thus, I do not yet believe the boy is guilty of rape.  I do not think he should be treated as a criminal.  Neither do I believe the girl is guilty of filing false charges this time.  I do believe the school authorities here are behaving badly no matter which is the case.

      8. Often, students in special populations have parents with similarly limited skill sets and understanding.  I’m wondering where the school social worker was in all of this, but maybe they don’t have one.

  7. Some days it just sucks to be a lawyer — “Plaintiff’s claims against the District are frivolous, and have no basis in fact or law” said the response, written by the school district’s lawyers Celynda Brasher and Michelle Basi. “Therefore, the District Defendants are entitled to an award of their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.” (FTF News-Leader-dot-com story)

    I know a lawyer whose job for several years was to fight grievances brought by union public ed teachers; dragged her down into the dumps. Now she’s in the mediation business, with no direct affiliation to either party, and life is much better.

    (Edit: wow, Disqus has got one aggressive link constructor — just appending a dot and a com to a whitespace-free phrase puts it into gear…think of the DNS!)

    1. It amazes me the amount of people seeking a career in law with no idea what their actual employment options in the field are. More often than not it ain’t all fat checks, fancy suits and towncars despite what movies would have you believe.

  8. While I sadly agree with the assesment of likely actions one of the above posters speculated on I”m…

    Sometimes WTF doesn’t even start covering it.

    Anyone know if a kickstarter or donation for the girl’s family would be possible? It’s kindof our responsibility, after what’s happened, to show that not everyone in the world is a steaming pile of crap.

  9. Still amazes me how we live in an age where information is easier to share and review than ever and bullshit like this happens. Just goes to show you: No system in the world can ever compensate for incompetence.

    1. “Still amazes me how we live in an age where information is easier to share and review than ever and bullshit like this happens.”

      More like stuff like this has been happening for ages, and yet now we’re more likely to find out about it.

  10. Maybe they didn’t have the means to move, and city wouldn’t let them rezone their daughter without physicaly changing address.

    1. This isn’t a big city. They appear to only have one middle school and one high school. Nowhere to move her to in-district, and they’re not going to pay to send a liar to a school in a different district.

  11. “The school district’s response to the lawsuit says the officials named are not responsible for damages, because ‘the girl failed and neglected to use reasonable means to protect herself.'”

    This is like something out of an ultra-depresso Todd Solondz or Dogme 95 movie. Do these people have souls?

  12. Maybe they should put these administrators and others who are negligent in such duties on a list of some kind.  Oh, I dunno… Something like… A sexual offenders list?  We could then see how quickly these jerks change their tune

    (Note: I’m not particularly fond of these registries knowing how they’re abused and what is considered an “offense” but seriously, how is this sort of thing not considered a form of negligent sexual assault?)

  13. That is just horrible. The school officials should be booted out! And the rapist should should be charged as an adult.

  14. Incidentally, one of the other books the Republic School District _tried_ to ban was Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak,” which is about, ya know, the rape and subsequent silencing of a middle school student.

    1. Incidentally, one of the other books the Republic School District
      _tried_ to ban was Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak,” which is about, ya
      know, the rape and subsequent silencing of a middle school student.


  15. In… the library? In the motherfcking school library “the girl failed and neglected to use reasonable means to protect herself”?

    A 7th grade special ed student shouldn’t even feel safe in the school library?

    Oh holy God.

  16. In 1998 the city of Republic, Mo. was in a lawsuit regarding their city seal. The original seal included the icthus fish, and one resident took offense and took them to court. She won.


    One would think they would be tired of paying for legal counsel. I live one town over, and I can attest that quite a few of us who are locals are very up in arms about this, as are many citizens of Republic itself.
    This, along with the book banning, and the incident with the city seal, really puts into doubt the motto of the News-Leader, “Tis a privilege to live in the Ozarks” Um, no, not anymore.

    1. “Tis a privilege to live in the Ozarks”

      ‘Tain’t.  My parents retired there in the early 90s, then moved to Arizona around 2001 in order to find a more tolerant, openminded neighborhood.

      1. I envy them. I am currently saving money to leave, as well. I have lived here all my life, but the changes to this area make it really unbearable. There is such a culture of self preservation and “othering” anyone who goes against the status quo in this area. It is and they will do everything in their power to protect themselves, at her expense. It’s the nature of things in this area, I am sad to say.

        1. Wish I could send you a plane ticket.  Despite the natural beauty you mentioned, and the presence of a whole lot of genuinely loving and decent people (they’re not all like the villains in Winter’s Bone), it’s no place to be an outsider.  Or at least no place to be perceived as an outsider.

  17. Another thing to keep in mind for those not familiar with the Ozarks. This whole area is heavily steeped in christianity. The Assemblies of God denomination has their world HQ here, as well as multiple schools churning out ministers, missionaries and teachers. While this is a beautiful area full of natural wonder the bible thumping, proselytizing, and tendency to circle the wagons over any imagined slight is overwhelming.

    1. That, “Lilith” is a non sequiter load of crap.  You just keep perpetuating those stereotypes, though, if it makes you feel better.  Stereotypes keep us from dealing with the issues at hand; after all, what else can we expect from those illiterate, Christian Okie bible thumpers?
      And people named Lilith are all lesbian Wiccans, right?

      1. Steve- I would like to know how is it a perpetuation of a stereotype when I am actually living here, and witnessing it first hand? I live in the Ozarks, a mere 15 minutes from the school in question, and have dealt with this way of thinking all my life.

        I posted it as an indicator of the mindset of people in this area. It is
        a very conservative region, and there are those in this area who still blame women for the fall of man, original sin, and all that. There
        are those who feel it was either her inherently wanton sexual nature
        that tempted the boy to do it, or God’s will, as another poster farther
        down pointed out.

        This is the way some people believe around here, and I don’t see it changing,
        even with this situation, any time soon. While many people are very
        upset by what happened there are just as many who again feel she is at
        fault, or that God wanted it to happen. I don’t understand how they can
        believe that way, but they do. So, for the issue at hand, knowing that there are people doing some serious victim blaming, and using their religious beliefs to do so, was pertinent to the conversation, in my opinion. I am sorry you felt otherwise.

        As far as their being illiterate- I never indicated as such- in fact I did mention the plethora of colleges in this area that are biblically based.
        Oh, and not that it matters, but not a lesbian, nor a wiccan.

        1. Not that you need any help in this, but I have also experienced firsthand the attitude of many of the people of this area, having lived just south of Springfield for quite some time. I still have family in the area. You are quite right that the attitude of repressive sexuality, which is indeed heavily influenced by the many, many evangelical churches to be be found thereabouts, informs much of the “discourse.” 

          In case you haven’t heard this joke, it was proposed that the churches should ban the experience of having sex while standing up. The reason? They were afraid that others would think they were dancing. It’s not that big of an exaggeration.

          Just in case-not a wiccan, and not a lesbian either.   

        2. Sorry Lilith.  I guess I missed that part where you actually live in the Ozarks.  I just thought you were writing from the comparative safety of one of the coasts and commenting from afar. Given your position, it was a pertinent statement, and I apologize for my rancor.  The disgust I felt over the situation got the best of me.

          1. Steve- Thanks, and trust me when I say I understand how you could overwhelmed by the disgust that the situation brings. I know tomorrow there will be a protest at the school board meeting, and according to local sources more than a few groups will be there. It’s good to see so many upset people my only fear is that those in power won’t listen, and nothing will be done, or come of it. Unfortunately this is a common occurrence in this area. If you are curious to know what happens after the protest/school board meeting I’d be happy to share what I learn.

          2. At the expense of further hypertension (jk), I would very much like to know what happens.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the national media will do much, but this story has captured my attention.  Like you, I fear that those in power will not listen, and that they have the full obstinacy of entrenched power behind them, i.e. they don’t need to listen. 

            It’s been a long time since my Rage Against The Machine days, but their lyrics make more and more sense to me as time goes by.

          3. Steve –
            The protests are set for this evening, so expect an update late tonight or tomorrow, ok? There is a story in the current edition of the News Leader about it all. http://www.news-leader.com/article/20110822/NEWS04/108220327/Republic-board-says-little-lawsuit?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
            and some of our local tv stations did stories on the planned protests as well. It will be interesting to see what comes of all this, and as I said above I will share what I learn.

  18. Not to disagree or anything but how does that have anything to do with turning  a blind eye to a pretty serious charge?

  19. I actually had something just like this happen to me, a student tried to kill me, I reported him to the principles, and they threatened to expel me. He tried again a week later and I just decided to drop out.

    1. Dude, that just ain’t right.

      So what. Try resolving the problem by assuming the victum here is lying to get somebody else in trouble and attention for themselves?

      1. Since it seems it didn’t post my previous reply.. that is indeed what usually happens, the schools are out for themselves because they have every desire to avoid a lawsuit or investigation, whats even better is in my case the gym teacher was watching and laughing his ass off and pretty much explained it off as me being a “weak nerd”, and spoke against what I said to the principles. (Gotta love gym teachers)

  20. So, don’t school officials have a responsibility to report when children are abused/harmed?  If they did not report the rape to the authorities, they should be prosecuted by a district attorney.

    I hope the mother sues the boy’s family, and personally sues all the school officials in question.  It is not enough to sue the school district.

      1. this is so egregious, I wonder if the state or the feds should get involved.  The school/district needs new leadership and the teachers and staff (remaining after this incident) need additional training.

    1. Perfict world that would be what happens. However based on the idea they can’t move to put their daughter in a different school district (one that doens’t have the rapest enrolled) they wouldn’t be able to afford an attorney. Then even if they did there’s a chance they’d lose THEN get counter-sued for defamation of character, slander, and all sorts of other things.

      Hence my asking if a fund would be practical/realistic earlier. Money seems to be a problem here.

      1. the rapist is in juvie, so I think they are “safe” from him for a year.  The crazy teachers and administrators are still at the school though.

        1. I’d be more worried about the adults still in power in the school. What else are they concealing? What other children are being hurt?

      2. You assume they are paying the attorney. That quite possibly is not the case, there are legal organizations that help sexual assault victims file lawsuits and lawyers will sometimes take a case like this on contingency because it’s so likely to be settled and would be good for their reputaion.

      3. In a perfect world there woud be no rapists. 
        Instead, there are many many rapists in this world. Let’s all do our best to treat vitims and “alleged” victims of rape with respect and sensitivity. 
        Let’s remember than in any sufficiently large (not all that large) sample of people there are rape survivors among them and that both rapists and rape survivors continue to participate in society and don’t just disappear after the media loses interest in their story. 

        Also to treat special needs people, and differently abled people with the full and complete agency that any and every person deserves. 

        We can be better people. 

        1. Indeed.

          As for Anon taking action. How? What would be the most productive method of forcing positive change? Protests, sure, but after the flash and fury what?Fraac, while callous, is correct. This kind of thing happens constantly. However I differ in opinion. Just because it happens does not mean we must be apethetic. It is that lack of carring, especially by those in charge, of more than themselve that allows this sort of thing to happen.

          1. Anonymous could hack their f%#king emails, and show that they talked about it. 
            That they knew, that they covered it up, and that they are the scum we all think they are.
            Maybe dig around and find out they are not these good wholesome people they pretend to be and air all of their dirty laundry and let the community descend upon them like a plague.

            Get them banned from running anything more than a lemonade stand for the rest of their lives and give them any idea of what they put this girl through not once, not twice but 3 times.

            Because you know they will get her on the stand, and their lawyer will drag out every little detail trying to break her.

  21. I worked on a case just like this, on the Plaintiff’s side. Actually there were two Plaintiffs in this case, and the similarities in between the two events are striking and sad. There’s a good chance this will actually head to court, as did the case I worked on, which ended up getting appealed then had to be retried only to settle after the first day of jury selection…more that 5 years later. This has nothing to do with it being in a bible thumping region or anything like that, it has to do with the fact that teachers and caretakers often stigmatize those with special needs, as being false reporters or exaggerators, because that happens so often. I can almost guarantee that later on, it will be revealed that the girl has “cried wolf” or has a history of sexual behavior, or is a trouble maker or considered to be a liar, and that will be the chief defense for the named parties. The bottom line is there is no excuse for it. You report it to the proper authorities no matter how true or false you believe it to be and let them sort it out. Even if you’re not a decent human being and you don’t care, at least cover your own ass.

  22. Do we know that the rapist wasn’t also a ‘special needs’ 7th grader? He may be mentally incompetent, which would make the school district even more liable for failing to control his behavior.

  23. So what IS a reasonable mean of protection for a schoolgirl in their opinion; mastering krav maga before walking into the damn library??

  24. Missouri, the state that deserves tornados. I speak from personal experience. 

    BTW, I can’ t post comments from Seamonkey here, even when enabling cookies and disabling NoScript. So far DIsqus and I are not getting along. Opened Safari to post a comment.

  25. The school district’s response to the lawsuit says the officials named
    are not responsible for damages, because “the girl failed and neglected
    to use reasonable means to protect herself.”

    How?  Aren’t they currently using metal detectors to screen out any “reasonable means” to protect yourself on the basis that it will cause problems?

  26. Without wanting to take too much of a shotgun approach, this kind of mentality is rampant throughout the U.S. “justice” system. Anything is acceptable in court: a lawyer can be paid for to construct the most monstrous lies, backed up by paid expert witnesses who will swear, PHD’s in hand, that black is white, up is down, and day is night.

  27. Don’t think this is a podunk Missouri thing, you don’t get off that easy. I’ve seen plenty of the same things happen in the big bright cities. This family is just willing to go through the hell of taking it to court.

    1. It’s true. In upper middle class and rich neighborhoods the same thing happens very frequently, too. Children lack power so anything can be done to them without consequence. It’s horrifying.

  28. Most bullying type behaviour is tacitly encouraged by teachers because it reinforces hierarchic group identity. Same with most rapes. This story happens thousands of times a day, probably involving people you know and trust. Bear that in mind while you’re comforting yourself with appropriate displays of alarm at this one instance.

    1. “This story happens thousands of times a day, probably involving people
      you know and trust. Bear that in mind while you’re comforting yourself
      with appropriate displays of alarm at this one instance.”

      Right.  Point taken.

      Fucking hell….

  29. The school district’s response to the lawsuit says the officials named 
    are not responsible for damages, because “the girl failed and neglected 
    to use reasonable means to protect herself.”
    This whole world makes me sick. 

  30. s2Redux, if these parents were poor and not well-educated themselves I can picture the wool being pulled over their eyes. Fraac, I can’t tell you how many teachers have put blood, sweat, and tears to raise alarm bells over dangerous situations. They get shut up by administrators who don’t want exposure.

    1. Just because there are good teachers doesn’t mean there aren’t bad teachers.  Just because there are bad administrators doesn’t mean there aren’t good administrators.

  31. Can the school officials involved be charged as accomplices to the rape?  Either or both.  The phrase ‘reckless disregard’ comes to mind, and their failure to follow the legal requirement of mandatory reporting of the first incident certainly seems to be a smoking (legal) gun. However, IANAL.

  32. I was kept out of school — missed all of grade eight in fact — because of a remote village siege. Social workers were deftly lied to early, for a year in the north I had to stay in a house. Big cities have tons of manipulative losers in them, but at least I can be ‘alone’ in one. A village or hamlet hours away from civilization? F***ing priceless.

  33. “Nothing is more important than the welfare of our students.” Ahh, the splendidly vague ‘welfare’. Almost as vacuous in it’s lack of clarity as ‘good common sense’.

  34. Xeni, thank you for the updates & collecting valid links pointing to all sources involved in this fiasco. Also, from Vern Minor’s response:

    “Nothing is more important than the welfare of our students.”

    Seems like limiting school system liability is “more important”, Vern. Resign and let others clean up your mess you “shit-eating-grin” arse.

  35. To all passing implied judgement on the parent(s?) some things to consider. The majority of families with a child with intellectual disabilities end up being single parent homes. The vast majority of these end up with the woman being the care giver. Single parent moms who have dependent kids with intellectual disabilities have a hell of a hard time finding employment and seldom have the energy to deal with school authorities interpreting reality for them. It takes mentors and support to help families find ways to get kids the services they need, and find ways to protect their kids. Given that the majority of kids and adults with intellectual disabilities are very vulnerable to sexual abuse tthis sort of incident is too often the norm.

    Having recently retired from the field after 35 years, and still being involved through volunteer work with The Arc I can assure you that blaming the parent is another from of blaming the victim, and may you never find your judgmental ass in that particular position. While I dont know current statistics, at one time the rate of sexual abuse was over 60% for both women and men, kids and adults alike. If they had been institutionalized, it was more like 80+%. I think things have improved, but there is still so far to go. Something so massive is difficult to fight and depends on the entire community helping protect individuals with disabilities and speaking with when they need it, and for them when they can’t speak for themselves.

    Again, don’t know the specifics. The parents could be crack addled hill-billies, but the odds are much more likely that it’s one person, who is struggling to make ends meet and find ways to take care of her child, and totally devoid of options. So until you have the full picture, hold the judgements.

    And to MD, all your “wonderings” are most probably answered by the lack of options, and the stated passivity of the child not the negligence your phrasing implies. Your sister is the exception not the norm for people with intellectual disabilities. It sucks to be a sibling of a disabled child, but the fact is that any person who alleged they have been abused, no matter how many times they have said “insane things”, has to be followed up on each time since sexual predators love the cover that those insane stories give them.

  36. this is sad, and occurs more than we think,
    I wish people would wake up.
    It’s easy to tell if someone has been traumatized,
    they are treating it as if a teacher did it.
    Oh just sweep it under the rug, maybe noone will notice … kind sick sh..
    I’ m sorry for the girl,
    she’s gonna need therapy too.
    I hope her mom Sues the school for so much money that they change who’s
    in charge, PLEASE.

  37. It all starts with the term “Special Ed.” The school is poisoned against her, because they’ve all got it in their minds that she couldn’t possibly know what she was talking about, and must have been complicit in the sexual activity in some vain attempt to “please” her attacker. Nothing is more offensive to me than the idea that a child, any child, is not given the benefit of the doubt by the adults charged with protecting and educating them.

  38. FFS… I don’t care if this gets deleted. If this happens to one other girl then I am shooting myself in the head because this world is just not worth being alive in.

    1. blueelm, I totally get how you feel. This story makes me sick and furious and despairing.

      But please, if you really feel like this world is not worth being alive in, please please talk to somebody. I have felt that way in the past, overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world and wondering what this world, this life, is even worth. But I promise your life is worthwhile. The very fact that you hurt for this girl shows your compassion and empathy. Those qualities mean you’re the kind of person that gives me reason to live in this world.

      And seriously, if you’re thinking that it’s not worth being alive, call 1-800-273-TALK in the US. (You don’t have to be actually about to hurt yourself to call; just being in emotional distress is a good enough reason.)

      1. Hey, I saw this reply and it took me a while to respond because I feel a little bad. I didn’t mean to be dramatic or take attention from the subject :( I’m ok.. usually when I get that depressed I just go write a song no one will ever hear (I’m lucky to have some kind of outlet for myself). I’m just going through some stuff in life right now and the nastiness of the world is getting to me more than usual. This particular subject hits a little too close to home so I’m over-empathizing probably. Anyway, since I posted something that alarmed some one I figured I owe an apology/explanation. 

  39. Honestly, if this were my school district I’d be at every meeting of public officials demanding their immediate and final resignation, and asking the State Police to being an investigation.  This is the most abhorrent and disgusting thing I’ve read in a long time and I’m positively horrified

  40. In light of anyone deciding to overcome their apathy…..PrincipalMrs. Patricia MithelavageRepublic Middle School518 N Hampton, Republic, MO 65738

  41. Holy crap.  Allowing both the victim of the previous rape allegation and the alleged perpetrator of the previous alleged rape to be alone together… 
    Culpability factor: the school wins it! They are responsible!

  42. Jack mentioned this:

    “Heck, just look at this case. If this happened 30 years ago what would
    have happened?  A local investigation? Maybe a small article in a local
    newspaper. And then what else?”

    Now 30 years is still only early 80’s so not much else outside of maybe a snippet on the local news channels, might not ever make it out of the state for that matter.

    Now go back 50-60 years when my parents where growing up…things would have been a lot different.  Sure investigation and newspaper article, and after everything was said and done if the boy went free then he’d still face the wrath of the girl’s relatives.  I’m pretty sure her uncles and cousins would have had a nice “talking” to the young man and made it very clear that if he touched her or any other girl again he’d end up face down in a six foot hole.  At which point when he turned 18 he would have probably gotten the hell out of there or joined the military.  While that might not be “legal” justice, it is punishment/retribution.

    I’m a big fan of harsh punishments… ie eye for an eye type of things.  Especially when these are not random acts of violence.  In this case I think castration and 10 years in jail would work out nicely.  He could share a cell with that nice 300 lb guy they call Tiny.

    1. 50 or 60 years ago the girl might have been kicked and spit at on the street.  You’re glorifying a past that never existed.

    2. So… you’re saying rapists deserve to be raped in prison…? By a guy named ‘Tiny’? Really? :/

      Because that sure seems like what you’re implying there…

  43. As other parents of special needs kids have already noted, this in *not* unusual or confined to the Ozarks. School districts in California routinely defy special ed laws. When challenged their response is often, in essence, “Yeah? So sue me”. We did, and prevailed, but many parents simply don’t have the knowledge or money or time to fight for their rights (and even if they do, victory is not certain).

    I wish I could distribute a video of the stuff that came out at our trial – most people would be stunned. Yet ours was a totally ordinary case. This stuff happens every day.

  44. I long for simpler times when Justice would find the perpetrators of these crimes in the form of angry or vengeful relatives and friends. I think that all too often the consequences do not fit the crime and are anything but natural. To take advantage of someone so vulnerable in this way, the person responsible should fear for their limbs, if not their life. 

    The people who had the young girl within their stewardship should be punished and all the more harshly for their attempt to evade accountability. I think their lack of dignity in this respect is disgusting and barbarous. I hope that they are quickly on the receiving end of the same caliber of cruelty and indifference, in the form of joblessness, and jail time.

    1. I long for simpler times when the first assault would have been dealt with. Where the schools, judiciary, parents and medical community all supported the victim. We don’t need a return to the days of lynching. Springfield, Mo is infamous for the lynching of two black men on the city square only 80 years ago. Springfield is the county seat and less than 10 miles from Republic. Civilization is still pretty scarce on the Ozarks plateau. Don’t push these folks or else we will see real violence.

      1. Grolaw, If someone messed with my autistic brother, it wouldn’t be the Law they would fear most. Folks should protect the people within their realm of stewardship, ESPECIALLY when institutions within the community fail to do so. I consider my fellow citizens within the realm of my stewardship, and in particular, my family, friends and neighbors. 

        I utterly reject any notion (including yours) that suggests I do otherwise.

        Oh, and Missouri isn’t special or infamous. There isn’t a State in the US whose soil hasn’t seen blood and plenty of it. 

        The kid responsible for the rape? A private punch (or two) to the mouth is probably what’s needed in the event he isn’t held accountable by the Law. If the folks there could be pushed to a public lynching as you suggest, I hope they get the Biblical destruction it sounds like you’re already praying for. How’s that high horse do in a wind storm anyway?

  45. It doesn’t matter what happens, from minor bullying to major incidences, nobody does a thing. Iowa, Missouri, New York, California, it doesn’t matter. It is *everywhere* and it’s a complete systemic failure.

    You know what that girl’s parents probably had to go through with that school district? Hell! Utter and complete hell! Once your child is labeled a “problem”, anything that happens is your child’s fault and the only way to fight back is to literally lawyer up. That and file a police report for any incident that resulted in physical harm of the child. Don’t go through the school because they won’t do shit. 

    It’s shit like this, the horrific bullying I went through in jr high/high school, and what I’ve seen happen to other people in school that I will do whatever it takes to homeschool my child(ren). 

  46. I lived in this area for a few years. Super high rate of teen pregnancy coupled with a super high incidence of oppressive bible thumping. Go figure.

  47. Wonder if the (alleged) rapist ends up having relatives in the administration, or being a ‘star’ athlete or something…

  48. Sounds a lot like the Bjästa case from northen Sweden a year ago.

    Some real gems from the pastor especially. The rapist was invited by the pastor to the school graduation ceremony, where he handed out white flowers symbolizing innocence to his classmates and received standing ovations from teachers and classmates (who created hate campaigns online against the rape victim).

    Pastor: ” There was an enormous demonstration. He had flowers with him… I
    thought it very courageous of him to have the strength to come here and
    do that”

    Journalist: “Later that evening of the graduation, that YOU invited him to…. the boy raped a second girl. There was overwhelming evidence for this, and he has been convicted for this crime. Any comments on this?”

    Pastor: “Oh, that poor, poor boy.” [talks a bit more. Expresses more sympathy for the rapist. Nods sadly. After a while, looks up at the journalists off carmera, who have said they were staring in disbelief at him]. “Oh, and the girls too of course.”

  49. So I’m confused.  In a different, more violent/just golden era, relatives of the girl would beat up… the other special ed kid, who was also underage?  Please tell me in that halcyon, wild west era someone beats up the principal, ffs!

    Btw, in this halcyon era, who stuck with the kid besides her Mom?  Relying on male relatives is not necessarily an optimal nostalgic survival strategy.  I am not sure it is reliable NOW.

  50. I have represented students in IDEA suits in Missouri in the past. I’ve also represented teachers who were dismissed / denied tenure in primary/secondary schools in Missouri.

    This child is the norm. When NCLB became the law the response of Missouri school districts was to exclude special Ed students – send them back to their parents for home schooling – to avoid the drop in test scores special ed students were expected to cause.

    School district officials have “qualified immunity” for their acts and, unfortunately, they are likely to avoid any liability arising from this case.

    Republic is also known for adopting the Christian Icthes symbol as a city icon and for expelling a Wiccan student about 10 years ago. The ACLU nailed the town for both 1st Amendment violations, at a significant cost to the city’s residents.

    There is but one positive thing about the town of Republic: it is in the tornado alley that funnels storms around the Springfield high-ground. Maybe this fall Republic will reap the whirlwind it so justly deserves destroying the school. NOTHING less will make any changes to the venal school district administrators’ position that a 7th grader with a disability failed to protect herself.

    Missouri is a concealed-carry state. Damn shame that you have to be 18 years old to obtain a license. I know a 7th grader who ought to be able to protect herself from callous school district officials and their legal counsel. I’d give even odds that my brother-in-law’s law firm represents Republic R-III.

    At long last, have you no shame?

    1. School district officials have “qualified immunity” for their acts and, unfortunately, they are likely to avoid any liability arising from this case. 

      Seriously? There is still the mandated reporting law. Surely they’re not immune from THAT. 

      1. Ah, but you have to know that a reportable incident took place. Here, the district’s cursory review resulted in a finding that the first assault was a false report – leading to discipline of the victim. No reporting necessary.

        They have no personal liability and very, very little professional culpability. At best, letters of censure could be issued (but, they won’t).

  51. One of the scarier things in this to me is that people who have such barbaric views of people and morality at the same time have evolved a sufficient level of mental functioning to write grammatically correct press releases.

  52. i’m guessing another defense will be these two points
    1) he read slaughterhouse five (prior to it being BANNED) and therefore was morally corrupted so it was NOT his fault
    2) she was dressed inappropriately and WAS ASKING FOR IT

    one day, i hope in MY lifetime, it will NOT be the victim’s fault. one day, grrrls and women (and children and yes, even men) won’t be dragged through the mud if they bring charges of abuse and assault. one day we will all stand together and say enough. this MUST end.

    1. Keep in mind that blindly supporting the victim can also do a lot of harm. Lives have been destroyed by false accusations. The right thing to do is not to automatically dismiss or support one side or the other, but to investigate. And I doubt the school is the right party to do that investigation. They should have called the police and informed the parents, and arrange counseling or therapy. Pretty soon it should be clear if it was rape or not. If nothing can be proven, don’t kick anyone out of school, but keep the two people apart and keep an eye on them, or something.

      I’m sure more informed people than I have thought a lot harder about the best procedure in such cases, and every school needs to be informed about such procedures.

      1. Point well made, but it doens’t look like any of that went on here.

        Could be wrong but this one made the Today Show, so I’m guessing the boy in question now has a ruined life. Don’t like that that’s what’s likely to happen since it’ll just be the boy who takes the fall when it’s a failure of the system to properly address the issue and none of the educational folk will likely have to answer for their part(s) in this mess.

        Could say some justice is better than none, but that feels rather hollow.

      2. according to a story in cnn, the juvenile boy pleaded guilty in court (didn’t say to what charge, i must say). so it is more than likely she is telling the truth and it seems like the evidence proves she was raped.

        the point i DO agree with you on is; the school MORE than f**ked up here. i hope they get squeezed dry (well that would be bad for all of the other students, SO, i hope instead of getting squeezed dry, mom and daughter get a very healthy settlement AND every single person working in that school system who dismissed the grrrl’s story,  gets fired AND GETS PRISON TIME

  53. Well, here we are griping about it. (You know what they call some one in special ed in Missouri? Names!)

    How about we DO SOMETHING!

    Give this girl a ticket to somewhere civilized?

    I’ll pledge my $50.00 right now for her plane/train/bus ticket out of that hell hole.

    Somebody needs to:
    • line up legal representation for the girl where ever we send her to, (and we’ll ASK HER where she’d like to go,)
    • start a website for collecting donations,
    • line up social services and welfare agencies to watch out for her welfare,
    • line up an apartment,
    • line up something (like employment) for her mother.

    Get in touch with me if somebody starts something CONCRETE.

  54. Mind you though, that boy is one of the “children” that we need to “protect” with these laws people keep coming up with…But yea, seeing as she’s Special Ed I kinda expected this, as even in my high school when I still went the Sp. Ed students were notorious for causing trouble, partly due to the Zero Tolerance BS where they could quite literally beat you to within an inch of your life but if you tried to defend yourself you’d be thrown in Juvie, and several of them would abuse it (though for non-special ed. kids it worked both ways, attacker and person defending themselves would both get arrested…).
    That said, rape is something that should be looked into, not pushed under a rug.

  55. Would like someone to keep an eye on this for us please and post about what happens. I don’t have internet/cable at my house and get all my news while at work and I want to see if these assholes get what they deserve.
    I would show this article to a friend of mine at work who has a special needs child and frequently relates special needs articles to me, but I’m afraid her head would explode from this…this…fuck I don’t even know what to CALL THIS!

  56. I don’t mean to incite violence or anything, but if these school administrators were to be shot and killed, would it qualify them for a Darwin Award?

    Seriously, this is the kind of thing that would have people up in arms…if it happened in Afghanistan.

  57. Skimmed a lot of the comments, so apologies if this is reductive:

    Someone mentioned “mastering krav maga,” and I support such measures whole-heartedly (using Aikido, more specifically).  What’s the quote… something like “when the armies of the world can destroy each other in one second”… along those lines.  If a potential bully/rapist/fiend-of-the-week suspects they’ll have their testicles shown to them as they bleed out, they’re likely to pursue “softer targets.”  If there ARE no softer targets…

    I certainly solved many of my highschool problems with violence; always very directed, but violence just the same.  If someone threatened me, or a friend or other “weaker party” then I would address the situation… usually with trolling… until the provocateur swung.  Then I would brutalize and embarrass them over two or three breaths – never unrecoverably, and never with bone-breaking force – while informing them of the error in their thinking.  It worked remarkably well, based on my own experience. “Repeat offenders” were rare.

    So, teach the children “discipline-constrained violence” and let them take their individual lumps in class.  The reason I’ve never lost a “real” fight are the *many* I lost while in training.  I think students would be better for it “out in the world,” and with a greater appreciation for the dramatic effect violence can have on one’s life.

    I’m not necessarily happy about the things I’ve done to fools, but I *am* proud that I stood up to them. Someone has to.

    Sorry for proselytizing… cases like this always make me wish for harsher, more personal, and more thorough justice.

    1. What you call justice, other people call vengeance, or possibly an anger management problem.

  58. AUGH GOD I had the same reaction.  That book (“Speak”) should NEVER be banned, anywhere.  In fact, it should be required reading for every student in every school.

  59. I think you need another definition then:

    rape[reyp]   Origin Like this word?

    1    /reɪp/ Show Spelled [reyp] Show IPA noun, verb, raped, rap·ing. noun 1. the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse. 2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

    Rape, by definition, does NOT allow for FREE WILL. If the person it “happens to” had free will, it wouldn’t happen in the first place. Unless you are saying the person it happens to should just “give in and enjoy it”. As I said, this is unargueable, so I won’t continue to do so. 

    ETA: I’m not claiming to represent Jesus, you are, nor does his view of idolatry scare me. Since you see yourself as his proxy, I can understand your self-righteousness.

  60. Why isn’t anyone prosecuting the boy who actually raped her? They have his DNA, they know who did it. I’m not saying they shouldn’t go after the school as well, but if they got a conviction of the boy, wouldn’t that make their suit stronger?

    1. They are minors. Juvenile court determinations are not public records. Who knows if the case was referred for prosecution? What if the attacker lacked the capacity to form intent? This path of inquiry does not address the underlying issue of the standard of care due the students by the teachers and administrative staff.

  61. proj·ect   /n. ˈprɒdʒɛkt, -ɪkt; v. prəˈdʒɛkt/ Show Spelled[n. proj-ekt, -ikt; v. pruh-jekt] Show IPA
    noun …21. Psychology . to ascribe one’s own feelings, thoughts, or attitudes to others.

  62. I don’t want to be the PC police here, especially because the real issue deserves so much more attention, but it’s really not appropriate to refer to someone as a Special Ed student, special needs student, or special ed kid, as I’ve seen in the comments. People with disabilities are people first, and so it’s much better to refer to this person as a girl or student with an intellectual disability (if that is in fact what her diagnosis is). While most people aren’t consistently defined by one characteristic of their lives, people with disabilities are much more often referred to by their disability before anything else, i.e. “autistic kid” or “mentally retarded girl”. Person first language is the community’s way of establishing someone’s personhood before anything else.

    1. Not sure what you mean by a zombie troll, but I hope you weren’t referring to my comment to James which was neither zombie nor troll.  One of the ways in which the system of public education is broken is that it teaches – instills, actually – the concept of learned helplessness.  It labels a child with a term like “autism” or “ADD” or some such, and then slams the door on them and leaves them with that title for the rest of their academic career…which will probably be brief.  These young adults then labor on under society’s assumptions about their “condition” for the rest of their lives.
      And it is the nature of the system to deny the student the assistance to improve their lot.  Teachers want to get the student through their class year, or barring that, hand them off to someone else.  As a former teacher I know this to be the case through hundreds of observations.  Consequently, I no longer teach in the public school system since a person can only take so much heartbreak.
      These students must understand, especially in high school, that if they are looking to the system to help them then they are looking in the wrong place.  To quote an old saying, “There’s no justice, there’s just us.”  Nobody can make your life better but you.

      1. We used to have a solid law to mainstream special needs students (to remove them from the institutional education ghetto reserved for disabled students) called IDEA. The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act – a tool to craft Individualized Education Programs for these students in cooperation with the school’s teachers, administrators, health care providers, parents and the student so that the student could receive the Free Appropriate Public Education that they are entitled to under the law. In Missouri, a free education through the 12th Grade is guaranteed to all under the age of 21 by the State Constitution.

        Then came No Child Left Behind with its Draconian penalties for districts that didn’t “test well” on standardized tests. No exclusions or adaptations were made for IDEA students and the districts across the nation began the process of excluding special needs students and not renewing the contracts for the teachers who were qualified to teach these IDEA students.

        I have no doubt that Republic R-III had no interest in retaining this young lady where she could have brought down the district’s scores on the NCLB tests. We’ve turned back the clock and IDEA has been amended to the point that it has no relevance – it has no effective enforcement provisions left. Thanks W.

  63. I work with seriously mentally ill women as chaplain and human rights advocate. Some, because of previous trauma, will lodge complaints over and over again. I have advised my institution that we will take every allegation seriously until disproven. People with any sort of intellectual deficit are at great risk of abuse and when they complain repeatedly they are at even more risk because people stop believing them. When a woman says she was raped you keep investigating until you get the truth, period, over and out.

  64. Now that there’s been time for the initial wtf RAGE! to subside, at least a little.
    Can we think of realistic options? I mean granted the system itself is broken and sadly we are either too scattered or even as a collective too few As Is to directly do anything. What do we do? What action can be made to counteract the suck this has created?

    Do we have any ideas on who to send any cards/wellwishes/money to in this spicific case? What of other cases? 

    Then again I’m  bit off-beat and think community level activism. Something to better the general area you live in.

    1. Sorry, you’re incorrect. The school district is an arm of the Executive Branch of state government and any lawsuits brought by the Executive Branch are through the state’s highest legal office, the Attorney General of the state. The individual school districts do not have standing, nor statutory authority, to file suit, unless through the auspices of the AG

  65. It appears that the school failed to properly investigate the complaint when it was first made.

    That being said, I can speak from experience, being the parent of a special needs child, how it is possible that the whole situation came about.

    It is quite clear to me that most of the people commenting here have no clue what it takes to deal with just one special needs child.

    Quite often there are issues with cognition, IQ and communication on top of disruptive and anti-social behavior.

    Never mind that my child is fairly well behaved, it can be quite exhausting to deal with him.

    Some of you are too quick to judgement, and appear to be advancing some sort of agenda without having any detailed knowledge of the people involved.

    1. Investigate? Why, that would deprive the district of plausible deniability and cost money, too.

      Seriously, if any real investigation were undertaken the district might be found to have waived their qualified immunity if the scope of the investigation was unreasonable given the circumstances. From a legal standpoint, what you don’t know is cheaper than finding out happened. And, unless an ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act charge was filed by the student’s parents, the district had no legal duty to do any more than a cursory review. Requiring the victim to apologize indicates that a cursory review of the situation was all that was done.

      Keep it quiet and under the rug. SOP for Missouri school districts. The Kansas City school district was still segregated in the 1980s when suit was brought to end de facto segregation – a case that ran into the 2000s with J. Russell Clark of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division the judge at the beginning of the case and J. Dean Whipple was assigned the case after J. Clark’s retirement and death. At one point, J. Clark Ordered taxes raised on all Missouri citizens to pay for the remedy! Why? Because the state’s legislative and executive branches refused to pay for the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court Ordered integration with “all deliberate speed” 30+ years later! No, Missouri School Districts are not in the business of education.

  66. Just unbelievable.  Horrible, horrible.  And all our horror cannot be answered easily. I used to teach in the public school system, and this is one extreme example of why I quit:  The system does damage. I hope the school district pays for this girl’s therapy and that the “teachers” and admins involved go away for a long time for criminal neglect.

    1. There is a case on file. That’s what caused the Republic R-III School District to issue their press release. Moreover, I’m certain that the plaintiff’s counsel is working on contingency.

      Many, many times actions brought under the ADA or Missouri’s Human Rights Act (chap. 213 R.S.Mo) will have nominal “actual damages” (lost income, medical treatment, lost educational benefits in the instant case) but will make the case for an award of substantial emotional distress damages (any young girl raped is going to need therapy – and usually for many years – the violation at any age is devastating, but here we are talking about a disabled child who may require even more extensive therapy due to her disability…) and, the law expressly permits an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing plaintiff – where a substantial award of fees and costs can be made upon motion to the Court.

      Hitting Republic R-III with the atty fees that they run up by defending the indefensible is the only way to deter these jerks. It is money that matters.

      Oh, a few Springfield News-Leader letters to the editor have dismissed the whole matter as “God’s will” – let us not overlook the fact that there are no fewer than five bible colleges in Springfield, proper and that a substantial number of televangelists matriculated there. God’s will is a common general response to these horrible crimes/disasters (see, Joplin tornado local coverage.)

  67. Well it is great to hear the the Republic School district made a statement that the school district is safe for all student. That is a load off my mind based on previous policing the district has demonstrated. :rollseyes:

  68. Fighting in schools, even to defend oneself, is often verboten and punishable by suspension or expulsion or criminal charges depending on circumstances. Carrying a weapon is rather obviously forbidden. Speaking out didn’t help the first time, and speaking out – with proof – the second time resulted in her suspension for PDA and “disrespectful conduct” (I wonder if the officials responsible for this debacle and her subsequent suspensions are able to be suspended for disrespectful conduct and endangering a minor?). I think a full-time bodyguard is going a bit over the top, and isn’t available to many people attending public school. 
    How, then, was she supposed to defend herself? The only way I can see her taking adequate precautions in her own self defense in this case (that is available to her without recrimination) involves something that isn’t available because it’s never been made and is something that is ridiculous to even consider by her and her parents – vagina dentata (rather, the Rape-aXe). School systems are charged with the education of our children. They are also to a certain extent charged with their physical and mental welfare, with school nurses, a lunch every day, making sure the kids are okay in the event of a disaster, and are in a sense parental proxies that report to authorities suspected abuse, molestation and other acts that endanger the welfare of the children in their care. If they were not liable for the welfare of children, leaving that entirely to parents, I suspect that many more parents would opt for private and home schools if they could find a way to make that happen. According to the linked articles, this girl was suspended after the second rape for “disrespectful conduct” and “public display of affection,” even after an examination had been done proving that a rape had occurred by the person that pled guilty to it. This is an educational institution that is teaching college-level “CYA at the expense of all others” and very little else. 

    1. Disrespectful conduct, huh?  Who would have thought?  After all, the Republic Schools system is sooooo deserving of her respect.
      And didn’t I read earlier that she had been evaluated as having a pathological need to make people around her happy? She obviously has some form of reduced responsibility, but apparently they have to make her look like she was asking for it and leaving the CYA paper trail. Absolutely despicable.

  69. A horrifying situation to be sure, but pretty much par for the course in the American public school system. When students are abused by other students, administration typically blames the victim for putting this problem in the administration’s lap, generally causing a hassle and more work for them. For some reason they tend not to blame the bullies and rapists for exactly the same reason. At least this is how it worked in the various public schools I grew up in.

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