The mother of student Kevin Eng followed through on her earlier promises to sue, after James Madison High School (commonly referred to as Horndog High) teacher Erin Sayer, 35, had inappropriate sexual relations with the then 16-year-old student, reports the New York Daily News. She is seeking $10 million for the damage to her son.
Some "brilliant" blogger already covered the criminal aspects of the Sayer case on our sister blog, but here is the short version: teacher had numerous sexcapades with a student in her SUV and classroom, shared her weed, and was caught because the duo were exchanging Facebook messages and the victim's suspicious girlfriend hacked his account.
In previous episodes of Horndog High, two female teachers were caught allegedly in the throes of lovemaking (they claim it was a diabetic seizure) and another teacher was under investigation for sleeping with an of-age student.
Why is the prior alleged misconduct of other teachers at least somewhat relevant? Schools aren't inherently liable for the misconduct of their teachers. In order to hold the school (and Department of Education) liable under federal law, there would have to be some prior warning of the misconduct. In other words, the school would have to have known, or should have known, about misconduct and ignored it.
Sayer and Eng's encounters were not discovered by anyone (that we know of) before his girlfriend hacked his Facebook account. One might argue that the other acts indicated a culture of sexual misconduct and that the district did little to educate the students and teachers of the legality and consequences of such acts.
The suit against Sayer herself is theoretically pretty solid. Teacher victimized underage student. At minimum, it's a battery lawsuit. The teacher touched him in a harmful or offensive manner. However, even with her reported above-$78,000 salary, she is still not the "deep pockets" that will enable a $10 million verdict. The school district will have to be held liable to get anywhere near that much money.
- Consult a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- School District Not Liable For Teacher's Sex Acts With Student (FindLaw's Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog)
- 8th Grader Loses an Eye to Bullies; Family Sues School (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Brooklyn teen sues city, HS teacher for $10M over 'affair' (New York Post)