The parents of 11 students at the 68th Street School in Los Angeles have filed a $110-million claim against the Los Angeles Unified School District, charging officials with negligent hiring and retention, conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress in connection with a child-abuse case.
The claim is in response to allegations that school and district officials waited as long as a year before reporting to the appropriate authorities that they suspected a teacher at the school--Terry E. Bartholome--of molesting a number of his 3rd-grade students. (See Education Week, Aug. 21, 1985.)
Mr. Bartholome, who has pleaded not guilty to 30 felony counts and 15 misdemeanor counts, is being held on $200,000 bail. A pretrial hearing has been set for Sept. 19.
The school district has until Oct. 7 to review the claim and make a decision on what action to take, according to Eric G. Ferrer, a lawyer in the firm of Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., which is representing the parents. If the claim is rejected, Mr. Ferrer said, the parents will file suit.
Jerry Halverson, associate superintendent and general counsel for the district, said officials plan to reject the claim and will determine whether to negotiate or defend the suit once investigations by the grand jury and the school district are completed.