Former West Mesa High cheerleader sues Albuquerque Public Schools


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A high school student in Albuquerque is suing Albuquerque Public Schools — claiming her cheer leading teammates took nude pictures and video of her — and the district did nothing about it.

Read the lawsuit >>

Her teammates took photos of her while she was in a hotel shower at cheer camp in July 2015. Now her family is suing APS for not doing enough to protect their daughter.

In the summer of 2015, the girl behind the lawsuit was a sophomore-to-be at West Mesa High School, and a member of the cheer leading squad.

The team took a trip to Phoenix with three coaches. It was in a hotel room there that the victim’s family said their life began to unravel.

“Students had been taking photographs and video of their daughter naked in the shower,” said Mollie McGraw, the family’s attorney.

The girl claims the teammates posted those pictures and video to Snapchat. Now a lawsuit has been filed against APS on behalf of the cheerleader. According to the lawsuit — her teammates teased and harassed her “…she doesn’t shave, who would want to have sex with her…”

In the weeks that followed, her parents claim school and district officials did not do much to help resolve the situation, and also blamed their daughter — telling her she was overreacting to a joke.

“They took away her position on the team, in essence, to punish her for speaking out,” said McGraw.

The parents claim the harassment and bullying got so bad their daughter wanted to transfer to another school. The district’s response?

“The district said, we’ll do that if you sign this settlement release agreeing not to sue us for our failures,” said McGraw.

Her parents did not sign the release. The girl was eventually allowed to transfer – only after lawyers served the district with a restraining order.

“A child’s right to an education in a safe environment is non-negotiable,” said McGraw.

The lawsuit also names the principal at West Mesa who is still there, and the cheer coach, who is no longer listed as the coach. APS would not tell us what happened to her.

Only one of the girl’s teammates was ever disciplined for the actual incident. APS would not comment on the lawsuit.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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