June Simpson was a teacher's aide at Sparkman Middle School in Toney, Alabama in 2010 when she sent a 14-year-old girl into the bathroom to be sexually assaulted by a 16-year-old eighth grade boy with a long history of discipline, and who had been accused in recent months of sexually propositioning girls in the school) so that he could be caught in the act and disciplined for it, the Associated Press reports.
Simpson, who quit after the incident, said she told an assistant principal, Jeanne Dunaway , about her plan and that she initiated it after the principal, Ronnie Blair, told her he couldn't discipline the 16-year-old eighth grader unless he was caught in the act.
School officials claim the administrators weren't aware of the plan, but according to the A.P. the principal said he "may have" said the boy had to be caught in the act, "but the point was it had to be proven that he was guilty of something before it would have—he could be punished for that particular situation." Communication skills and note-taking, apparently optional for school administrators in Toney.
Blair is still the principal at Sparkman and Dunaway has since been promoted to principal at another school. The parents of the 14-year-old girl sued the school district but a magistrate judge threw the lawsuit out because, he argued, the school couldn't know the danger the girl was being placed in. "Although it was foolish to send (the girl) to meet (the boy), the court cannot say that it was 'extreme and outrageous.'," the A.P. quotes Judge Michael Putnam in his decision. "The scheme to catch (the boy) ended horribly and tragically, but the idea of using (the girl) to catch (the boy) 'in the act,' however foolish, was not so extreme or outrageous as 'to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society."
Putnam seems to have a different idea of a civilized society than anyone who would find the idea of using one student to catch another student victimizing them on its face disturbing.
The Obama administration has joined with nearly three dozen private advocacy groups in petitioning a the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Putnam's decision and allow the lawsuit against the school district, filed under Title IX's prohibition of sexual harassment in schools, to continue.