Federal Lawsuit Filed Against CSAS and Hamilton County Schools

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- A federal lawsuit has been filed in the Eastern District Court of Tennessee against administrators at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (CSAS) and the Hamilton County School Board.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuit claim that they failed to protect a young female student from sexual harassment and bullying.

This lawsuit has been filed in the District Court of Eastern Tennessee. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs represent a 13 year old female student who is called Jane Doe, began attending classes at C-S-A-S at the beginning of last school year.

In her science class, a fellow 13 year old male student who is referred to as Jim Doe, is accused of numerous incidents of harassment towards Jane Doe including verbal, physical, and sexual harassment.

These series of incidents led up to December 9, 2021, which is at the core of the lawsuit. The lawsuit describes an incident during a band concert at the school in which Jim Doe forced Jane Doe to perform sexual acts in a closet. This was followed according to lawsuit by weeks of taunting by Jim Doe and other students, with very graphic insults that we cannot share.

She told one of her teachers about the incident in January 2022, who passed it on to administrators at the school. Administrators eventually contacted law enforcement who began an investigation into the incident. The lawsuit accuses both principals, James Boles and Carmen Veller, of not immediately contacting the parents of Jane Doe about the incident, instead saying they were contacted by a deputy with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

The lawsuit states that after the initial reporting of this incident, the lawsuit states that Jim Doe remained a student at C-S-A-S for two more months, which in this time despite promises he would be kept away from Jane Doe, he did continue to bully and harass Jane Doe. Jim Doe was eventually arrested for rape and attempted kidnapping and was removed from the school in March 2022.

Jane Doe continued to experience harassment and bullying after his removal, even at one point being pushed down the stairs leading to injury. Her family eventually removed her from the school.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for damages for an unspecified amount. The lawsuit argues that Jane Doe’s 14th Amendment right to bodily integrity was violated by the abuse.

We did reach out to Hamilton County Schools who provided us with this statement. They said quote, “Hamilton County Schools is aware of a lawsuit filed concerning an incident last year at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. Our district works every day to support the education, safety, and wellbeing of our students. As this matter involves pending litigation, we will have no additional comment at this time.”

Read the Lawsuit (viewer discretion advised for raw language)




Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News