BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – The parents of a Belen student said the district has not done enough to keep their child safe. So, they have filed a lawsuit against the district.
A lawsuit filed in September stated Belen Consolidated Schools didn’t protect a student who was being harassed and abused by a classmate.
The suit claims the student underwent harassment and abuse, and the district kept the victim and abuser in the same class after it was reported and the abuse continued.
The family’s attorney David Adams said his client was 14 years old when the first incident happened at Belen Middle School in December of last year.
“Sexual contact being included, which is touching of somebody over the breast clothing, you know. Obviously accumulated to the point where she felt it was necessary to report it,” said Adams.
The lawsuit alleged a student, who was only identified by the alias “John Smith,” began to harass and bully her and things escalated from there. It stated Smith began to touch the victim without her consent during class.
According to the lawsuit, the school didn’t take any sort of action on the report. Now, the victim and Smith both attend the same high school, and the suit claims the abuse has continued. Adams said this has caused extreme trauma.
“Traumatizing, obviously. It’s disheartening that this is how it’s been resolved when it comes to the school system. Anytime somebody sees the perpetrator of a violent crime, it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to cause post-traumatic stress,” explained Adams.
The victim’s parents weren’t notified about the incident and found out multiple months later after the victim tried to harm herself. The lawsuit also claims the district didn’t notify law enforcement about the incidents.
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KRQE reached out to Belen Consolidated Schools, and they said they take their students’ safety very seriously and can’t comment on pending litigation.