Case details

School negligent in supervising students on trip, student alleged




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

anxiety, depression, mental, psychological, sexually assaulted
In May 2012, the plaintiff, a 13-year-old student, traveled with his eighth grade class and teachers to Yosemite National Park for a six-day, five-night, outdoor education program. On the last night of the program, the teenager was sexually assaulted by his cabin mate, a fellow classmate who admitted to the assault. The 13 year old student reported the assault to his teachers while in Yosemite; however, the school officials did not notify local authorities and, instead, had the student finish the day and travel home on the chartered bus along with the assailant and other students. Upon returning to San Rafael, the assaulted teenager was interviewed by school officials and local sheriffs without the teenager’s parents present, and his parents were not notified of the assault by school officials until after the interviews were completed. The 13-year-old student, by and through his guardian ad litem, sued the school district, San Rafael City Schools, and the minor classmate that assaulted him. The plaintiff alleged that the classmate’s actions constituted battery and negligence per se. He also alleged that the actions of San Rafael City Schools constituted negligence and statutory liability pursuant to Government Code § 815.2 and Education Code § 44808. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that San Rafael City Schools was negligent in assigning the plaintiff to the same sleeping quarters as the assailant, who had a history of bullying the plaintiff. Counsel also contended that San Rafael City Schools was negligent in the supervision of its students by allowing them to sleep in quarters without an adult chaperone and without adequate oversight. Plaintiff’s counsel further contended that San Rafael City Schools was negligent in its failure to investigate the incident immediately, in forcing the plaintiff to ride back to San Rafael on the same bus as the assailant, in failing to immediately notify the plaintiff’s parents, and for interrogating the plaintiff outside the presence of his parents and without his parents being notified about the interrogation before it occurred., The plaintiff — who has learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a history of being bullied at school — was sexually assaulted. He claimed he was left feeling profoundly traumatized by both the assault and the investigation that followed. He alleged that as a result, he is fearful of another assault, anxious, depressed, suicidal, and hypervigilant. The plaintiff’s treating/expert psychiatrist diagnosed the plaintiff with chronic and severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The expert also noted that the plaintiff had nightmares, trouble sleeping, paranoid and suicidal thoughts, and recurrent thoughts of the incident. Thus, the psychiatrist believed that the plaintiff’s ongoing depression might evolve into dysthymia. Thus, the plaintiff sought recovery of $10,446 in past medical costs for psychiatric treatment and $150,000 in estimated future medical costs for additional psychiatric treatment. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Marin County, Marin, CA

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