Parents sue elementary school district for son's abuse on bus

Ann Knef Aug. 24, 2005, 10:37am

The parents of an Abraham Lincoln elementary school student in Belleville School District 118 allege their son was sexually assaulted by other students while riding a bus home on Feb. 5, according to a lawsuit filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court Aug. 17.

Jack and Jane Doe claim the school district, First Students Inc., James Slater and bus driver Felix Doe are negligent for ignoring previous assualts inflicted upon their son while he rode the bus.

"On several occasions prior to Feb. 3, 2005, and after Sept. 1, 2004, John Doe, a minor, while riding the school bus, a student forcefully removed plaintiff from the front of the bus and pulled plaintiff to the back of the bus, delivered plaintiff to two male students who sexually and/or physically assaulted and abused the plaintiff," according to the suit.

The Does are represented by Richard G. Reed and Jeanine R. Armstrong of Reed and Bruhn in Belleville. The 12-count suit seeks at least $600,000 in damages.

"On or about Feb. 3, 2005, John Doe was riding the school bus home when a group of students pulled down his underwear and sexually and/or physically assaulted and abused him," the suit states.

The Does claim the defendants failed to monitor students who were known to have "unusual sexual proclivities" and who were "known to have sexually or physically assaulted or abused fellow students on the bus."

They also claim the defendants failed to provide their son with emergency medical care, failed to notify law enforcement and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services about the incident as required.

John Doe suffered physical injuries, severe emotional and psychological trauma and incurred medical expenses, according to the suit.

The suit states that John Doe was bused to Westhaven School.

The Does claim Westhaven School Principal Jack Slater is negligent because he was "uniquely aware of the particular danger of acts of violence and/or sexual and/or physical assault from the minor students involved in these incidents against this particular plaintiff," according to the suit.

Jane Doe claims she discussed seating arrangements for her son on numerous occasions with the bus driver.

"At all relevant times, Jane Doe walked John Doe to the bus stop and watched John Doe board the bus in the mornings and exit the bus in the afternoons," the suit states.

"...the bus driver knew of the sexual and/or physical assaults and abuse to John Doe.

"Plaintiff was not notified of any sexual and/or physical assaults and/or abuses to John Doe."

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