Former student sues school administrators, claims grades dropped after reporting sexual harassment

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THORNTON, Colo. – A former high school student is suing administrators at a Thornton school. The student claims her grades dropped significantly after she reported being sexually harassed by a teacher.

“This was a constant pattern of disgusting sexual harassment against a child,” Igor Raykin, attorney with the Kishinevsky & Raykin Lawfirm said.

In a 43-page lawsuit, Jordan Boaz and her attorney, Igor Raykin, are suing top administrators of the Adams 12 Five Star School District. At the center of the lawsuit is Horizon High School English teacher, Eric England.

“This particular teacher was discussing rape for some reason and his exact comments were it’s a little rough and gruff at first and then maybe she starts to like it,” Raykin said.

The lawsuit alleges over the last four years, England made several inappropriate, sexual comments. He allegedly told students about losing his virginity, mimicked sex on his desk while discussing Romeo and Juliet, and placed a book in front of Boaz and whispered in her ear, “if you like sex, you should read this. They really get down and dirty in this one.”

The lawsuit said in November of 2014, the plaintiff’s mother, Pamela Boaz, contacted the Horizon High School Principal to say that Eric England had mimicked sex on his desk in class, but no action was taken against England.

The lawsuit said in September of 2015, England praised Boaz for being a great student, telling her mother through email she was a “role model” calling her “pleasant, intelligent and inspiring to her peers as well as the adults she encounters.”

“She alerted the principal who proceeded to do absolutely nothing, went to school counselor nothing was done, she went to administration nothing was being done she tried to address it directly with England – and all she faced was retaliation,” Raykin said.

Raykin says school administrators failed to take immediate action, but when they eventually did have a discussion with England, he says the tables turned on Boaz.

“After he was called to the carpet on some of the behavior, suddenly she wasn’t doing so splendidly anymore – at that point he starts saying she’s no longer really an “A” student. He starts dropping her grades. Now in the class she’s getting “Bs” or “Cs.” We have her transcripts here indicating she is basically a straight-A student. We have her ACT scores indicating she was scoring in the 97th percentile.”

The lawsuit said England, who was in charge of the school newspaper demoted Boaz as co-editor. He then told supervisors, “Jordan’s lying, deceit, dissent and insubordination are intolerable.”

FOX31 reached out to the Adams 12 Five Star School District. The District said they were first notified of this in February of 2018.

The District completed an internal investigation and said England was placed on administrative leave. The District said England then pursued personal leave and has not been in the school for this school year, however he is still employed with the district.

Meanwhile Boaz and her attorney want accountability.

“My client was very clear. This is not just about her, it’s about ensuring that this school district is not allowed to tolerate the same behavior against other females.”

Boaz is not seeking a certain dollar amount in this lawsuit. She wants to urge others to always report inappropriate behavior in schools.

This is the full statement from the district:

"Adams 12 Five Star Schools and Horizon High School are committed to an environment of non-discrimination. The district takes this responsibility seriously and investigates all allegations of harassment – which is a form of discrimination – upon being made aware of them.

In February of 2018, the district was notified of a Horizon High School student complaint alleging she was sexually harassed by a teacher. The district immediately began investigating. As the investigation unfolded and once pertinent information became available, the staff member in question was placed on administrative leave. At the conclusion of the investigation, the staff member pursued personal leave and has not been in the school for this school year.

In a third-party review of the district’s handling of these allegations, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) stated: “Finally, OCR’s review of the District’s investigative report into these allegations shows that the District conducted a fair, impartial and thorough investigation into all of the allegations raised by the complaint. Accordingly, OCR finds insufficient evidence that the District failed to provide a prompt and equitable response to the sexual harassment complaint.

The district anticipates the result of this current lawsuit will be consistent with the OCR findings."

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