DOE sued after special needs student sexually assaults classmate
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former student at Pearl City High School has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education in a case where she was sexually assaulted by a special needs student in 2012.
Attorneys for the girl, who will not be identified by Hawaii News Now, said the special needs student had autism and had a history of being violent and aggressive in school, so much so that he had an aide assigned only to him.
"This particular student was a danger to other students and became such a danger that he had a one-on-one," said attorney Michael Green.
The lawsuit also lists the Board of Education, as well as Kyle Miyashiro, who was the school vice principal at the time of the assault. The lawsuit also lists Bryan Simpson, who had been contracted as the aide to watch the special needs student because of his violent behavior.
"He should be going to the bathroom without somebody being with him," Green said of the student. "He should be able to walk down a hallways without somebody watching him."
The lawsuit alleges that the sex assault against the then-15 year-old girl happened when the two students were together for a band practice, and Simpson fell asleep.
"This young man is supposed to be watched by Simpson throughout the day on campus," said Green. "I don't get it. It's not like calculus. You just say awake and watch. You don't go take a nap up in the stands."
Green said the girl was embarrassed and didn't tell anyone until eight months later, when she confided in a school counselor.
"In this case, the counselor was told," Green said. "The counselor did nothing because she promised (not to tell)."
The lawsuit says the counselor was required by law to report the assault, but did not. It also alleges that vice principal Miyashiro also failed to take action.
The boy has already pleaded guilty to first-degree sex assault in Family Court in connection with the incident.
The D.O.E. said it cannot comment at this time on the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages. A department spokeswoman said Miyashiro was still employed by the D.O.E., but Simpson was contracted by Pearl City High School. He is no longer at the school.
Green said that besides seeking damages, the legal action should also serve to reassure the girl, whose grades plummeted after the incident.
"It wasn't her fault, and the people she trusted let her down," he said.
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