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Federal Judge Has Tossed Suit Involving '08 Assault of Student at Dallas ISD Middle School

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Calvin Beckton, a former band teacher at Boude Storey Middle School, is serving a 10-year stint in the TDCJ's Fort Stockton Unit for the 2008 sexual assault of a 14-year-old female student to whom he'd often given rides home in the past. He was sentenced in September, after prosecutors proved that one night in '08, in the band room at the campus off Marsalis and Kiest, Beckton raped the girl, then told her not to tell anyone. And she didn't, not for two days, till finally she told her math teacher what had happened, at which point school administrators were informed, Beckton was found ("slumped over and lying down in an upstairs school hallway") and then taken away by ambulance, never to be seen on campus again.

The girl's mother, though, sued school and district officials in Dallas federal court, insisting they'd been warned in the past about Beckton and still allowed him to keep working; she also took issue with the fact DISD did not have until 2009 a policy prohibiting teachers from giving students rides home. As Tawnell Hobbs wrote in The News in February 2010, "DISD has denied any responsibility in court records." And at the end of last week, according to court documents posted to PACER, U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle agreed, dismissing the case in an 18-page opinion that says the district and Storey administrators were not liable for the assault and acted properly after they found out about it.

Writes Boyle: First, the district and the employees of the school are "entitled to qualified immunity from both liability and from the suit itself." But more than that, she insists, "the record is clear" the principal and other school higher-ups "did not become aware of any inappropriate behavior by Calvin Beckton until the day [the girl] reported her assault." Furthermore, writes Boyle:

The record of evidence adduced in this case demonstrates that far from being indifferent to child sexual abuse, the DISD Board of Trustees has promulgated numerous policies addressing this issue, including those addressing training and reporting requirements regarding child abuse, and efforts towards preventing and reducing sexual harassment or abuse of students.

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