Charges against school district employees dropped

Three Albany County School District No. 1 employees who were in a lawsuit filed by a former Albany County resident have had the complaints against them dismissed in U.S District Court.

In the lawsuit filed in February, ACSD No.1, Director of Transportation Jeff Lewis, former Director of Transportation Randy Wilkison and Teacher Susan Taucher were accused of failing to act to prevent alleged sexual harassment of a former Harmony Elementary School student by another student, which the lawsuit claims eventually led to sexual assault.

In the order for dismissal, Skavdahl writes that while the school employees’ inaction is troubling, the former Albany County resident and her attorneys failed to demonstrate in any of the cases that the defendants played a part in creating, increasing danger to the girl or placing her in the way of danger.

According to the order, “The most that can be said of the school officials in this case is that they stood by and did nothing when suspicious circumstances dictated a more active role for them.”

The suit alleges that the assaulted female student rode the school bus to and from school each day and was repeatedly sexually harassed by a male Harmony student. According to the suit, in 2014, while the students were returning from a field trip, the male student sexually assaulted the female student on the bus.

According to the suit, bus drivers reported the male student’s inappropriate behavior to several district employees, including Lewis, Wilkison and Taucher.

According to the suit, Wilkison, who replaced Lewis as the district’s transportation director, knew about the male student’s frequent instances of sexual harassment and advised bus drivers, as well as at least one bus monitor, to stop writing reports about that child’s behavior issues and to tear up and throw away notes and reports about the child.

U.S District Judge Scott Skavdahl held a hearing on the motion to dismiss the charges against the three administrators on Wednesday, April 26. Skavdahl then issued the order to dismiss Tuesday, May 2.

Stephan Harris, Clerk of Court for the District of Wyoming, said ACSD No.1 has not filed a motion to dismiss in U.S District Court.

Attorneys for ACSD No. 1 did file an answer to the lawsuit on April 27 in U.S District Court. In it, the district denies it was aware of any sexual harassment to which it could have responded or taken remedial steps.

The lawsuit against ACSD No.1 is still pending.

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