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Defense Prevails on Behalf of an Intermediate Unit in a Federal Civil Rights Action

The plaintiff claimed she was sexually abused by her former music teacher, an employee of the plaintiff’s school district. During 9th grade, the plaintiff was placed in an emotional support classroom, which was operated by the intermediate unit but located in the school district’s high school building. The plaintiff made a disclosure to her emotional support teacher (also an intermediate unit employee) of abuse by the music teacher. The emotional support teacher shared the report with her immediate supervisor. The supervisor, in turn, reported the alleged abuse to the school district superintendent and children and youth services. In granting our motion for summary judgment, the court agreed that the intermediate unit acted affirmatively to protect the plaintiff and did not engage in any conduct that put the plaintiff at greater risk of harm. In addition, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s Title IX claim, concluding no “appropriate person” at the intermediate unit maintained supervisory authority over the music teacher because he was not an intermediate unit employee.

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