Maplewood High parents claim 14-year-old sexually assaulted in stairwell

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The parents of a Maplewood High School freshman sued the city of Nashville and Metro Schools claiming their daughter was sexually assaulted at school and the case wasn’t handled properly.

The lawsuit also claims the school violated Title IX requirements even before the assault happened.

It stems from an alleged incident the parents say happened in late September 2016 when their 14-year-old daughter and another freshman female were involved in “unwelcome sexual conduct with 18-year-old male students in a stairway” at Maplewood High.

The parents say the stairway is unsupervised, and the incident happened after regular classes and before remedial classes during a 30-minute time period.

The incident was reportedly videotaped and circulated both within the school and online.

According to the lawsuit, the principal of Maplewood became aware after the parents went to the administration to report it and get help.

The principal allegedly knew the other female was involved because her mother came to the school and complained her daughter got hickeys while at school, and that female student also reportedly identified herself the other girl in the video.

The lawsuit states both girls were ultimately told to simply go back to class without offering the parents any help.

The parents say a police report was filed, but the school administration never conducted an independent investigation, which is required under Title IX.

The parents also say schools are required to have a Title IX coordinator, but there is none listed on the website and they were never informed about Title IX requirements or put in touch with a coordinator.

According to the suit, the 14-year-old victim was unable to return to school. She continues to receive medical care for both physical and mental trauma stemming from the reported assault as well as the school’s handling.

The parents claim Maplewood failed to educate, warn, and discipline students engaged in sexual harassment or sexual cyber bullying.

The parents also claim the school was aware students engage in inappropriate behavior on campus while unsupervised, and that the administration is aware of the widespread act nicknamed as “exposing” where female students are sexually assaulted and videotaped without their knowledge. Those videos are then circulated, resulting in cyber bullying and sexual harassment of the alleged victims.

The parents of the student are now suing for violation of Title IX both before and after the incident, failure to train employees on proper handling of sexual assault and harassment, and claim the school showed deliberate indifference to ongoing harassment.

They seek $3 million in damages for both physical and emotional injuries, the loss of educational opportunity, the loss of enjoyment of life, and severe humiliation and embarrassment.

News 2 has reached out to Metro Schools and the city attorney for comment. A spokesman with the school district told News 2 in an email, “We have not been served with this lawsuit and have no details about this alleged incident at this time; however, as I’m sure you know, we are not able to discuss pending legal action. We take such allegations very seriously.”

We have yet to hear back from the city of Nashville.

This is the fourth lawsuit filed this month by parents against schools or school systems in Middle Tennessee after alleged sexual assaults on campus. One lawsuit claims an incident at Independence High School, another at Hunters Lane High School, and the most recent at Brentwood Academy.