Fairview High School has ‘sexually hostile culture,’ lawsuit claims

Local News

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — A federal lawsuit filed against the Boulder Valley School District and one its principals alleges Fairview High School created a “sexually hostile culture where tolerance of sexual violence is expected and would-be offenders are encouraged to perpetrate on other students.”

The suit was filed Friday by two females — who used pseudonyms — who each said they were raped by the same male student between 2016 and 2018.

The federal complaint accuses the district of allowing Fairview High School to create a “toxic culture that includes instances of openly sexist comments made by the principal and other administrators, a demonstrated pattern of ignoring reports of sexual assault, comments by administrators disbelieving and minimizing survivors’ reports of rape, failing to report sexual abuse of children to law enforcement, interfering with law enforcement investigations, and intimidating staff who wish to address the sexually hostile culture.”

The Problem Solvers have reached out to district leaders, the principal and Boulder Valley School District board members for comments and a response to the lawsuit.

The district released this statement:

The Boulder Valley School District is aware of the federal Title IX lawsuit filed today. There will be a time and place to contest the facts and allegations, but we cannot comment on pending litigation. BVSD remains committed to protecting our students, preventing and addressing sexual harassment and discrimination, and creating safe and healthy learning environments in our schools.

We are actively engaged with our students, families, staff and community partners to address equity issues, including Title IX’s protections against sexual and gender harassment and discrimination. In the 2020-2021 school year, BVSD adopted new policies consistent with the new Title IX federal regulations, provided training through MESA and Blue Sky Bridge for staff, students and families, and initiated a
Title IX Advisory Council. This year, the School District added a Title IX Coordinator position, expanded training requirements across the School District, and will continue the work of the Advisory Council especially to elevate our students’ voices.

We know that allegations like those made in the lawsuit are difficult for our students, families, staff and community. We invite our students and staff to let us know if you need additional support, and have shared many resources on our website, bvsd.org/helpforstudents.

Boulder Valley School District

Lawsuit describes alleged rapes, harassment

The 30-page federal complaint alleges school officials repeatedly ignored the seriousness of sexual crimes that female students reported, including three rapes alleged to have been committed by the same male student.

The complaint accuses the school of “fostering an environment of fear and gender discrimination” and “failing to adequately train students and staff on sexual abuse and consent.” In doing so, the suit alleges the school violated the federal education amendment, Title IX.

Title IX is a federal rule that prevents gender discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding.

One of the plaintiffs said a sophomore boy at the school pushed her into a closet during a party during the 2016-17 school year and “made her perform oral sex on him.” The federal lawsuit accuses the boy of refusing to let the girl go and says, “he then vaginally raped her while she plead with him to stop.”

The other plaintiff said the boy “forced her down onto her knees and pushed her face towards his groin, cutting and bruising her knees. He then forced Ms. Roe to perform oral sex on him.” When the plaintiff stood up to leave, the suit alleges the boy “grabbed her by the arms, pulled up her dress and raped her.”

The suit referenced other alleged sexual assaults and rapes and alleges the high school administrators failed to open a Title IX investigation into the matter.

The complaint also mentioned an incident during the 2017-18 school year when the plaintiffs alleged that a female student reported a sexual assault and harassment by another male student during school hours.

“The male student grabbed the female student inappropriately in hallways, made sexual contact with her without her consent and even exposed himself to her in class,” the suit claimed.

The federal complaint alleges the school failed to report the incident to law enforcement and that an administrator was charged with failure to report child abuse or neglect.

However, a search of the Colorado court system shows the misdemeanor charge was dismissed by the district attorney.

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