A lawsuit in which Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is accused of mishandling allegations of three first-grade students being sexually abused by their classmates was moved to federal court on Oct. 2.
First filed in May in state court, the lawsuit claims school officials did not properly investigate and respond to the abuse, and the family of one minor is suing for negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The abuse occurred around spring of 2010 in a system-wide classroom for students with behavioral health difficulties at Estes Hills Elementary School. Lucy Hayes, who taught the class at the time of the incident, filed an affidavit on Aug. 19, documenting how she learned of and reported the abuse and the response by the principal and other officials.
In previous academic years, Hayes said her classroom included students from kindergarten through second grade, with third and fifth graders in a separate classroom. She claims during that school year, the two classrooms merged into one, and students from kindergarten to fifth grade were all in her class.
Hayes said she noticed that there was something wrong in her classroom around the spring semester due to a change in normal behavior from a number of her students.